Mapping the constraints and selection pressures of lung cancer evolution

Year of award: 2018


  • Dr Nicholas McGranahan

    University College London

Project summary

Cancers develop through an evolutionary process, whereby ‘normal’ cells accumulate genetic faults. Although some of the key genetic events leading to cancers have been identified, it is not clearly understood why certain events occur in certain tissues at certain times and not in others. Developing a deeper understanding of the processes that go awry during cancer development, coupled with a further investigation of the forces that shape a tumour’s development, including the immune system, we may be better placed to tackle cancer.

I will use data from thousands of cases of cancer to obtain a large database of how tumours from different tissues evolve over time. This database will be used to help understand how tumours change during their development, and whether we can predict the next step they are likely to take.

This work may lay the foundation for a new type of evolution-guided therapeutics.