Sanger Institute Scientist Awarded Cancer Research Prize

Mike Stratton receives the Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award

Professor Mike Stratton. Mike was presented with the Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting on 5 March 2010.
Professor Mike Stratton, Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and head of the Cancer Genome Project, has been presented with the Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting on 5 March 2010. The award recognizes a clinician or researcher, “whose contributions in the field of cancer research have been outstanding in importance and distinction.”

The Award was founded in 1972 by Murray Gruber in memory of his first wife. The list of previous recipients includes Jacques Monod, the ‘father of the gene’, Bert Vogelstein and Robert Weinberg, luminaries of modern cancer research, and Nobel Laureates Michael Bishop, Howard Temin, Harald zur Hausen, Carol Greider and Stanley Cohen.

“I am deeply honoured to receive the Lila Gruber Award and most grateful to the Committee of American Academy of Dermatology for considering me. In doing so, however, the Committee has equally marked the contribution of so many close colleagues over the years whose enthusiasm, commitment and intelligence has been key to all the discoveries I have been involved in.”

Professor Mike Stratton Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Head of the Cancer Genome Project

The Award is given a recognized expert whose contributions in the field of cancer research have been outstanding in practice and distinction. The recipient must also have excellent and proven communication skills.

Mike led the group that mapped and then identified the high-risk breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2. Grasping early the potential of the emerging human genome sequence to help to identify cancer genes, he proposed and founded the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 1999.

Under his leadership, the Cancer Genome Project has identified mutated genes involved in many cancers, for example the BRAF gene in malignant melanoma which has become an important target for therapeutic development in this disease. Their work in cancer genomics has delivered understanding of mutation processes in cancers as well as laying the foundations for improved diagnosis and targeted treatment.

Mike and his colleagues were founders of the International Cancer Genome Consortium, which aims to analyse the genomes from 25,000 cancer samples.

Mike has also been an important spokesperson for the Sanger Institute, cancer genomics and genetic research, contributing to government committees and international panels as well as media and other public communication work.

Mike also holds an appointment at the Institute of Cancer Research, based in Sutton, UK.

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Notes to Editor

Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award

Murray Gruber established the Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award in 1972 to honour the memory of his first wife and to mark his dedication to dermatology. Its purpose is to encourage participation in cancer research and to provide a forum for the enrichment of knowledge of dermatologists in this important scientific field. He agreed with the American Association of Dermatologists to endow a permanent annual lectureship. These lectureships create a forum for presentations to the Academy by outstanding cancer research specialists.

Selected websites

  • The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

    • The ICR is Europe’s leading cancer research centre
    • The ICR has been ranked the UK’s top academic research centre, based on the results of the Higher Education Funding Council’s Research Assessment Exercise
    • The ICR works closely with partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to ensure patients immediately benefit from new research. Together the two organisations form the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe
    • The ICR has charitable status and relies on voluntary income, spending 95 pence in every pound of total income directly on research
    • As a college of the University of London, the ICR also provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction
    • Over its 100-year history, the ICR’s achievements include identifying the potential link between smoking and lung cancer which was subsequently confirmed, discovering that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer and isolating more cancer-related genes than any other organisation in the world.
  • 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.