A major research focus across the CRUK Cambridge Centre is furthering our understanding of the molecular and cellular structure of pre-cancerous cells so that patients at risk of developing cancer are identified earlier. Researchers and clinicians work together to apply scientific discoveries to the clinic, through finding new ways of detecting cancer as early as possible and developing treatments to stop tumours from growing and spreading.
Many of the advances that have driven improvements in patient outcomes have been the result of basic cellular and molecular biology.
Our Programme represents a team of over 120 laboratory researchers, based across 20 institutes and departments within Cambridge, who perform fundamental biological research at the very cutting edge of discovery. We encompass research groups who seek to understand the basic wiring of cancer cells, how developmental processes influence cancer development, how cells grow and divide, and the function of the cellular pathways that control these processes. Our work includes studies in model systems, such as flies, yeast and mice, and many of our members also use human cells and tissues as part of their research. Members of the Programme additionally perform next-generation sequencing of DNA, cellular imaging, and structural studies, through approaches such as cryo-electron microscopy, to understand the building blocks of life.
Our collaborative aim across the Programme is to forward-translate novel fundamental biological research to the development and refinement of cancer diagnostics and treatments, whilst concurrently reverse-translating insights from clinical trials back to basic research laboratories to assist with development of better anti-cancer therapies. In doing so, we are expanding the expertise and infrastructure within leading-edge basic cancer research.
Our ultimate goal is to influence patient care by understanding what makes cells a cancer.
Main image: Adult mouse heart 48 hours after activation of Myc together with Ccnt1 expression. Red shows cells replicating (phospho-histone H3), green marks cell membranes (wheat germ agglutinin), and blue marks cardiomyocyte muscle cells (cardiac troponin). Credit: Cathy Wilson, Department of Biochemistry/Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge.