07 November 2010

Sanger researcher awarded Cancer Research UK prize

Dr Peter Campbell is future leader in his field

Dr Peter Campbell received his Future Leaders Prize yesterday at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool. The award recognises early career researchers who are already showing the potential to become world class leaders in their field.

Dr Peter Campbell received his Future Leaders Prize yesterday at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool. The award recognises early career researchers who are already showing the potential to become world class leaders in their field. [Cancer Research UK]


Dr Peter Campbell, group leader in the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Cancer Genome Project, has been awarded the first ever Cancer Research UK Future Leaders Prize. The accolade recognises scientists who show the potential to be world class researchers in their field.

Peter was one of two awardees to receive the prize yesterday at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool.

"To be recognised with this award is a real honour," says Dr Peter Campbell. "I think it is fitting, in an era where cancer research is opening its eyes to a remarkable new future, that Cancer Research UK has launched this forward-looking new prize. As our increasing power to decode genomes allows us to glimpse the underlying genetic basis of cancer, we will increasingly rely on collaborations to which clinicians, biologists, geneticists and bioinformaticians bring their own perspective.

"I am thrilled to be part of that team."

Dr Campbell's work uses the latest DNA sequencing technologies to look at mutations that emerge over the course of a cancer's development. Among his achievements are the study of genetic factors underlying the spread of cancer cells around the body and the analysis of a whole lung cancer genome associated with tobacco smoke exposure. The latter study revealed - for the first time - the full suite of mutations in a single lung cancer genome, shedding remarkable new light on processes of genome damage and repair.

His achievements have placed Dr Campbell as a major figure in the world of cancer genome sequencing and analysis and in the International Cancer Genome Consortium, a project that brings together researchers across the globe to tackle cancer systematically on a massive scale.

"It is hard to think of a more deserving recipient," says Professor Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and co-head of the Cancer Genome Project. "Not only does Peter promise to be a world-class cancer researcher, his achievements are already shaping the very way that we approach cancer today and in the coming years.

"The Future Leaders Prize is a great way of looking at the future of cancer research and treatment. It is a future that is certainly much brighter with Peter in it."

" To be recognised with this award is a real honour in an era where cancer research is opening its eyes to a remarkable new future. "

Dr Peter Campbell

The award coincides with a fundamental shift in the way researchers are looking at the genetic causes of cancer.

Researchers worldwide and in the Cancer Genome Project have embarked on a new science - looking at the full complement of mutations found in a cancer and comparing those changes with the genome of normal cells from that same person. It is with those differences in hand that researchers can begin to pinpoint the mutations that are responsible for cancer - the drug targets of the future.

The challenge now is to apply this science to hundreds and then thousands of individual cancer cases. Ultimately, researchers hope that looking at the full suite of cancer mutations will become part of the routine practice for patients facing the disease in the clinic.

"Dr Campbell is widely seen as one of the leading figures in sequencing the DNA of cancers, looking for the faults that could be the cause of this disease," said Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK. "This award recognises the contribution Dr Campbell has already made to our understanding of cancer and will undoubtedly go on to make in the future."

Alongside his research to unpick the genetics of cancer, Dr Campbell is also a practicing haematologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

The Future Leaders Prize is one of three new Cancer Research UK Prizes - prestigious awards that recognise world leading cancer researchers and the scientists of tomorrow. The Prize recognises an individual who has completed their PhD within the last six years and has demonstrated the potential to achieve world-leading status by producing international quality research.

The Future Leaders Prize was selected by an international panel of cancer experts who were looking for researchers are already demonstrating the potential to make future key discoveries to transform our understanding and treatment of the disease.

The other recipient of the Future Leaders Prize is Professor Jorge Reis-Filho at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research in London.

About the NCRI Cancer Conference

The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference is the UK's major forum for showcasing the best British and international cancer research. The Conference offers unique opportunities for networking and sharing knowledge by bringing together world leading experts from all cancer research disciplines. The sixth annual NCRI Cancer Conference is taking place from the 7-10 November 2010 at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool.

About the NCRI

The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) was established in April 2001. It is a UK-wide partnership between the government, charity and industry which promotes co-operation in cancer research among the 21 member organisations for the benefit of patients, the public and the scientific community.

NCRI members are: the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI); Association for International Cancer Research; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Breakthrough Breast Cancer; Breast Cancer Campaign; Cancer Research UK; CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA, Department of Health; Economic and Social Research Council; Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research; Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; Macmillan Cancer Support; Marie Curie Cancer Care; Medical Research Council; Northern Ireland Health and Social Care (Research & Development Office); Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation; Scottish Government Health Directorates (Chief Scientist Office); Tenovus; Welsh Assembly Government (Wales Office of Research and Development for Health & Social Care); The Wellcome Trust; and Yorkshire Cancer Research.

About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
  • The charity's groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. This work is funded entirely by the public.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates double in the last forty years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7121 6699 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org

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.


Contact the Press Office

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NCRI press office

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* quick link - http://q.sanger.ac.uk/8j273fwk