NCRI 2015 – Evolutionary tales in leukaemia

NCRI 2015

At the 2015 NCRI Conference Professor Mel Greaves, our founding author, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by CRUK

This post is a synopsis of the lecture I gave at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference in Liverpool on the 2nd November 2015 – minus some anecdotes about mentors and colleagues – you needed to be there to hear those. It’s my personal, historical narrative of tackling the challenge involved in unravelling the biology and causes of childhood leukaemia. Continue reading

Time for a new perspective on cancer?

Charles Darwin by Julia Margaret Cameron albumen print, 1868 NPG P8 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Charles Darwin
by Julia Margaret Cameron, albumen print, 1868, NPG P8
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Evolution by natural selection is the foundation law of biology. So we shouldn’t be surprised that it has great relevance to cancer.

‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’
Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973

Almost 40 years ago, Peter Nowell first championed the idea that cancer is, fundamentally, a process of somatic cell evolution 1. Since then, the concept has been validated and elaborated, such that the striking parallels with Darwinian speciation by natural selection in ecosystems have been highlighted on many occasions 2,3,4. Continue reading