University of Cambridge > > SCI Cambridge Science Talks > HUNTING THE ANTISOCIAL CANCER CELL


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One of the most effective ways of improving cancer treatments is to improve early diagnosis, so that cancers are detected before they spread. Proteins that regulate DNA replication provide a new approach to this problem. Replicating the human genome during each cell cycle is an enormous logistical challenge. 105 replication initiation events must be co-ordinated so that all of the DNA is replicated once, exactly once and only once. How does the cell keep track of which regions it has already replicated? The answer lies in a ratchet-like system of “replication licensing”. Proteins that make up the license are remarkably powerful markers for improving cancer screening and diagnosis.

Prof Laskey started his career at Oxford, followed by post-doctoral posts on the scientific staff of Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. In 1983 he moved to the Charles Darwin Chair in the University of Cambridge, first in the Department of Zoology, then in the Wellcome CRC Institute and now as Director of the MRC Cancer Cell Unit in the Hutchison/MRC Research Centre.

He is a Fellow of Darwin College and a Fellow of the Royal Society. His work has been recognised by awards from several countries, including the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine. He has organised and edited two series of Darwin College Lectures. On a lighter note, he has written and recorded two albums called Songs for Cynical Scientists and More Songs for Cynical Scientists. We hope that we can persuade him to sing for us after the lecture.

Suitable for A-level students.

This talk is part of the SCI Cambridge Science Talks series.

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