Professor Charles Swanton

Unpicking cancer’s genetic patchwork

Professor Charlie Swanton is Cancer Research UK's Chief Clinician, and his team at the Francis Crick Institute are investigating how tumours evolve into a ‘patchwork’ of cancer cells that have different genetic mistakes. This genetic chaos – known as intratumoural heterogeneity – explains why some cancers are difficult to treat, especially once they’ve started spreading round the body.

Building on this work, Professor Swanton is leading an ambitious clinical study called TRACERx, which is analysing in unprecedented detail how lung cancers from 850 patients change at the genetic level over time, from diagnosis and throughout treatment.  The results will transform our understanding of lung cancer and how we treat the disease.

The study has led to further clinical trials being set up to find out if offering patients tailored treatments based on their disease helps them live longer. You can read more about Professor Swanton's pioneering work on our blog.

All cancer types
Lung cancer
Biomarker research
Cancer biology
Clinical trials

The Francis Crick Institute, London