Genomics Lite: Cancer Research Series

Date: 1 February 2021

Exploring how genomic research aids our understanding of cancer.

This series explored how genomics research is used to study cancer, how research techniques advance our understanding of cancer, and how this may inform treatment.

Session 1. Cancer Research in context with Dr Elizabeth Coker

Dr Elizabeth Coker explores how genomics can aid our understanding of cancer, and how this can aid in the design of cancer drugs.

Session 2. Cancer Research in the lab with Dr Patricia Jaaks and Luke Harvey

Exploring how cancer is researched in the lab, we’ll be exploring how healthy and diseased samples contribute to new drugs – from tumour to treatment.

Session 3. Cancer Research the big questions with Dr Alastair Droop

Alastair Droop joined us to discuss how artificial intelligence is being used in cancer and health care, and the ethics of AI.

Session 4. Cancer Research career pathways with Campus Researchers

We were joined by a number of researchers from the Wellcome Genome Campus to discuss how they got into the field of cancer research.

Learning Resources

What is cancer?

  • Cancer is the most common human genetic disease. Find out more about how cancer disrupts the cell cycle.
  • Cancer is often caused by a genetic mutation – use this resource to find out more about the different types of genetic mutation, or catch up with Genomics Lite: Human Genetic Variation.
  • Understanding cancer can be a personal journey, especially for those affected by it. Explore #flowcellular – a sci-art collaboration seeking to understand cancer through playful use of food and conversation.

How can genomics help us understand and treat cancer?

  • Genomics can help researchers identify genes associated with specific cancers, which can lead to the development of targeted drugs. This video highlights how DNA sequencing was used to identify that the gene BRAF is commonly mutated in malignant melanoma:

BRAF: from gene to cancer therapy

How is cancer treated?

  • There are a number of treatment options for cancer, depending on its stage and location. Watch this video to understand why different treatments are used for different cancers:

How do cancer cells behave differently from healthy ones? - George Zaidan

Is this the future of health?

  • Pharmocogenomics can be used to target specific genetic mutations within cancer genes.
  • The use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in diagnosing and treating conditions is increasing. Watch this video to find out more about how AI might transform healthcare:

Careers relating to cancer

  • There are a number of different careers related to cancer, including being a specialist doctor or cancer research. You can use the NHS Career Explorer to find out more about what type of medical career might suit you.
  • Watch these videos to get an idea of what types of cancer-related careers there are:

My career in genomics: cancer biology

A career in radiotherapy

Activity: KRAS Cancer Mutation