Transitions in Cancer Research


Transitions in Cancer Research

Graeme Clark Oration 2017

Cancers have been recognised as lethal diseases since antiquity, but systematic studies that advance our understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these diseases have been performed for only about a century.

With the recent advent of rapid DNA sequencing, it became possible to analyse the damaged genomes of human cancers in remarkable detail, promoting more rigorous diagnosis, new forms of epidemiology and rational therapies. The novel treatments include drugs that target miscreant proteins and immunotherapies that encourage a patient’s immune cells to attack cancer cells. Still newer methods for characterising single cells, not just collections of tumour cells, are now promoting a deeper understanding of tumour initiation, evolution, prognosis, heterogeneity, metastasis and resistance to therapies.

As an initiative of the Convergence Science Network and the Graeme Clark Institute, renowned cancer researcher and Nobel Laureate Professor Harold Varmus will discuss some of these features of the episodic history and the promising landscape of cancer research, with references to his own career in this field and the accompanying changes in social and medical practices.

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