Professor Stephen Jackson
The cells in our bodies are constantly exposed to things that can harm them, such as sunlight or cigarette smoke. If the DNA inside a cell gets damaged, it triggers a system called the ‘DNA damage response’. This fixes the faulty DNA so that the cell can keep working normally, preventing the cell from turning into a cancer.
Professor Stephen Jackson and his team at the University of Cambridge are investigating the DNA damage response, to learn more about how different molecules in the cell ‘talk’ to each other and orchestrate the repair process. Professor Jackson is hoping that this will shed light on how problems with the DNA damage response can sometimes lead to cancer.
Professor Jackson’s research is crucial to our understanding of cancer, and has already led to the development of several promising potential drugs, as well as the drug olaparib which is now used worldwide to treat certain ovarian cancers. The more we find out about what happens inside cells to make them cancerous, the more clues we have to help find new ways to treat the disease.
You can read about how Professor Jackson’s research led to the development of the cancer drug olaparib here.