Sanger researcher awarded Cancer Research UK prize
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. 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 Peter Campbell, co-head of the Cancer Genome Project, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
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. 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."
Professor Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and co-head of the Cancer Genome Project
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. 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."
Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK
Alongside his research to unpick the genetics of cancer, Dr Campbell is also a practising 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.