16th May 2008

Mike Stratton, co-Head of Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Elected to the Royal Society

Professor Mike Stratton, Deputy Director and Joint Head of the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, has been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society. Professor Stratton is one of the leading cancer researchers in the world.

The Royal Society is the UK's leading scientific organization and today announces the 2008 election of Fellows. The Fellowship of the Royal Society is composed of 1300 of the most distinguished scientists from the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth countries and the Republic of Ireland.

Professor Stratton says: "I feel very honoured to be elected to the Royal Society. Modern science is teamwork, and this is particularly so in my case. Over the years, the studies I have been involved in have depended critically on the deep commitment of the many colleagues with whom I have been privileged to work. This honour belongs also to all of them."

" The studies I have been involved in have depended critically on the deep commitment of the many colleagues with whom I have been privileged to work. This honour belongs also to all of them. "

Prof Mike Stratton

Professor Stratton established the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2000. He is also Professor of Cancer Genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research and Honorary Consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

"This is fully deserved recognition for the tireless work that Mike and his team have put into understanding the genetics of cancer," says Professor Allan Bradley, FRS, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "It is entirely accurate to state that Mike's work has transformed our understanding of the changes to genomes that occur in cancer cells."

"I am delighted for Mike and all his team."

Professor Stratton led the group that mapped and then identified the high-risk breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2. He has also identified several other breast cancer genes and has conducted searches for susceptibility genes involved in several other cancer types.

At the Cancer Genome Project he leads a team that is carrying out high-throughput, systematic genome-wide searches for somatic mutations in human cancer in order to identify new cancer genes, to understand processes of mutagenesis in human cancers and to understand the role of genome structure itself in determining abnormalities of cancer genomes.

These studies have led to the discovery of activating somatic mutations in the BRAF and ERBB2 genes in melanoma and lung cancer, respectively, and have characterised the basic patterns of somatic mutation in human cancer genomes.

Mike Stratton Videos

Mike talks about the Cancer Genome Project and the BRCA2 gene at www.yourgenome.org

More recently, Professor Stratton and colleagues have conducted large scale systematic sequencing screens in other human diseases, for example mental retardation.

"This is a fitting recognition of the outstanding contribution Professor Stratton and team have made to our understanding of cancer," says Dr Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust. "His work identifying the genes that are involved in cancer has already stimulated new drug discovery programmes. These programmes will hopefully lead to the development of new targeted therapies for cancer which kills over 7.5 million people worldwide each year."

In addition to its research findings, the Cancer Genome Project has developed leading online resources to catalogue and interpret DNA changes in cancer: these are provided free to help researchers worldwide understand cancer biology. The Cancer Genome Project websites serve almost half a million pages each week.

Notes to Editors

The Royal Society

The Royal Society is an independent academy promoting the natural and applied sciences. Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as the UK academy of science, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. It responds to individual demand with selection by merit, not by field. As we prepare for our 350th anniversary in 2010, we are working to achieve five strategic priorities to:

  • Invest in future scientific leaders and in innovation
  • Influence policymaking with the best scientific advice
  • Invigorate science and mathematics education
  • Increase access to the best science internationally
  • Inspire an interest in the joy, wonder and excitement of scientific discovery


The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which receives the majority of its funding from the Wellcome Trust, was founded in 1992. The Institute is responsible for the completion of the sequence of approximately one-third of the human genome as well as genomes of model organisms and more than 90 pathogen genomes. In October 2006, new funding was awarded by the Wellcome Trust to exploit the wealth of genome data now available to answer important questions about health and disease.


The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.


Sanger Institute Contact Information:

Don Powell Press Officer
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Hinxton, Cambs, CB10 1SA, UK

Tel +44 (0)1223 496 928
Mobile +44 (0)7753 7753 97
Fax +44 (0)1223 494 919
Email press.office@sanger.ac.uk

* quick link - http://q.sanger.ac.uk/ffmumd3d