Understanding DNA repair
University of Cambridge
Tennis Court Road
Web: Lab website
Professor Steve Jackson is an award-winning scientist, who has been funded by Cancer Research UK for over 15 years. He is Head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, where he leads a research team making incredible progress in understanding the important role of DNA repair and its link with cancer. Some of Professor Jackson's discoveries have already been developed into new treatments for cancer, and others are being tested in clinical trials.
Detecting DNA damage
The DNA in our cells is under constant attack, causing damage that can lead to cancer. Chemicals in the environment - such as those found in cigarette smoke - ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and other forms of radiation can damage DNA. But it can also be damaged by the chemical reactions that produce energy within all our cells.
Professor Jackson and his team are investigating the molecular 'toolbox' that cells use to detect and repair DNA damage. For example, they are studying the signalling proteins that alert the cell to the presence of DNA damage, and how their signals attract other proteins to repair the damage.
Professor Jackson's research is also being translated into new treatments. His work led to the development of drugs called PARP inhibitors, which are now being used in clinical trials to treat women with breast and ovarian cancer caused by certain gene faults.
By understanding how our cells detect and repair DNA damage, we will shed light on the causes of cancer, and find new ways to treat the disease in the future.
In March 2009 Professor Jackson Steve was named inaugural BBSRC Innovator of the Year for his work to turn research on DNA damage and repair into cancer therapies that are now saving the lives of breast and ovarian cancer sufferers. The award is organised by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Visit MyProjects to donate directly to Professor Jackson's research.
Listen to an audio package featuring Professor Jackson talking about the first steps in the journey to discovering new cancer drugs:
Other research projects by Stephen Jackson
Funding period: 01 October 2010 to 30 September 2015
Identifying and characterizing deubiquitylating enzymes that control cellular responses to DNA double-strand breaks
Funding period: 01 May 2012 to 30 April 2015