Mr Thomas Mitchell, FRCS

Clinician Scientist Fellow


This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

Tom Mitchell is a surgeon scientist committed to harnessing the tissue microenvironment for the prevention and early treatment of cancer

Understanding the somatic evolution of cancer

Deciphering how tumours evolve from normal healthy cells is fundamentally important for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. I have developed methods to infer the timing and the order of mutational acquisition across multiple cancer types. The method have been applied in demonstrating conserved evolutionary trajectories in prostate cancer, through to timing the landmark events and mechanisms underlying kidney cancer development, before finally applying these methods in a pan-cancer analysis.

The findings highlight a striking latency between cancer initiation and clinical detection. I am looking at ways to exploit this latency for the prevention and early treatment of cancer.


Characterising the micro-environment of kidney cancer

Tumour behaviour is dependent on the properties of cancer cells and their interaction with their multi-cellular micro-environment. To characterise the micro-environment I generated the first large-scale single cell transcriptomic analyses of kidney cancer, further refining the cell of origin of kidney cancer.  Since then I have profiled over 400,000 cells to decipher the zonation of immune cells, and to better understand the multicellular factors that constrain and promote cancer growth.

These results have not only generated fundamental new insights into the origin of a range of kidney cancers, but have also paved the way for the use of novel therapeutics in the prevention and treatment of early cancer.

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