Evolutionary Predictions In Colorectal Cancer (EPICC)


  • Dr Trevor Graham

    Queen Mary University of London

  • Dr Andrea Sottoriva

    Institute of Cancer Research

Project summary

Being able to accurately determine the prognosis of a cancer enables doctors to choose appropriate treatment. Our proposal aims to make determining a cancer's prognosis as routine as forecasting the weather. Weather forecasting is possible because it combines detailed measurements of the current state of the atmosphere together with a mathematical model that describes how the atmosphere will change in the coming days. Feeding the detailed measurements about today's atmosphere into the model leads to accurate predictions about tomorrow's weather. In cancer, we are able measure the cells in the cancer in great detail, but we lack the mathematical model to predict how the cancer will change over time. Our research will address this problem.

We will take accurate measurements in the laboratory of how individual tumours have evolved until today and we will then use this understanding to create mathematical ‘rules’ that describe future changes. We will then use these rules to construct new tools to forecast cancer evolution. Our research will focus on bowel cancer, the second most common cause of cancer-related death in the UK.