Cancer genetics and genome instability
Cancer arises from mutations within the DNA that constitute the chromosomes in human cells.
Some types of cancer can occur because of mutations that are inherited within families, but more commonly cancer occurs because of sporadic mutations during life. Once formed, cancer cells can mutate their DNA still further, thereby allowing them to change and evolve into more aggressive types. The ability of cancer cells to evolve in this way also allows them to evade treatment causing the disease to relapse.
This work package aims to investigate cancer causing mutation and to apply this understanding for patient benefit. We will identify mutations that lead to inherited forms of cancer and this may provide new genetic tests for families with these conditions. We will provide a more detailed understanding of the consequences of genetic mutations for the origins and evolution of tumours and their responses/resistance to therapy. By understanding how DNA is mutated in cancer we will develop better DNA diagnostic, prognostic and predictive tests.
Professor Duncan Baird