Cancer Research UK scientist receives inaugural AACR award

In collaboration with the Press Association

Professor Douglas Easton, director of the Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, has been selected to receive the inaugural American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Outstanding Investigator Award in Breast Cancer Research.

The award recognises an investigator who has carried out new and significant work which has had - or has the potential to have - a far-reaching impact on the causes, detection, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of breast cancer.

In the 1990s, Professor Easton's team helped track down two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, which strongly influence breast cancer risk. Evidence suggests that inheriting a faulty copy of either of these 'high-risk' genes is for around five per cent of breast cancers overall.

He has since established the Breast Cancer Linage Consortium, which provides an estimate of breast and ovarian cancer risk in women with BRCA1 mutations. His work has also helped to identify five breast cancer genes - FGFR2, TNRC9, MAP3K1, LSP1 and a locus on 8q - and shown how faulty versions of these genes are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in people with MRCA mutations.

Commenting on this award, Professor Easton said: "I am extremely honoured to receive this prestigious award. I think the award reflects the major advances in breast cancer genetics that have taken place over the past few years, which I have been fortunate to be part of. These developments have huge potential for understanding the biological basis of cancer susceptibility and for clinical risk prediction."

Dr Easton has been director of the Cancer Research UK Genetic Epidemiology Unit in the University of Cambridge's Department of Public Health and Primary Care since 1995.

He added: "Much of this work has been conducted through large international collaborations - I have been immensely privileged to have worked with so many investigators, both in Cambridge and throughout the world, to provide definite evidence on breast cancer risk genes. This award is in recognition of their work as much as mine."

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