Hopes and hypes: The role of genetics in cancer prevention and treatment

This event is in partnership with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Cancer Foundation and features Professor Anneke Lucassen, Professor of Genomic Medicine and Director of the Centre for Personalised Medicine, University of Oxford. Chaired by Professor Malcolm Dunlop FRSE, MRC Investigator, Chair of Coloproctology, Institute of Genetics and Cancer.

Rapid technological advances in our ability to analyse a person’s genetic code have resulted in significant, helpful developments in clinical practice; optimism about further developments remains high and rightly so. Yet this can also sometimes result in a discourse too focussed on these technological achievements. One that assumes that they will seamlessly lead to clear predictions, diagnoses, or treatments and that the interplay of a myriad of other factors- socio-economic, environmental exposures or random factors- are no longer relevant. Such deterministic discourse appeals to many but leads to promises about delivery that are difficult to honour in practice.

Professor Lucassen’s talk will highlight the hopes as well as the hype around cancer genetics and will use examples – arising from her clinical practice as well as her research group to illustrate where we need a more nuanced debate about the use of genetics in the prediction, prevention, and treatments of cancer. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session chaired by Professor Malcolm Dunlop FRSE.


A woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera
Professor Anneke Lucassen

Professor Anneke Lucassen

Professor of Genomic Medicine, Director of the Centre for Personalised Medicine, University of Oxford

Anneke Lucassen is Professor of Genomic Medicine in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and director of the Centre for Personalised Medicine University of Oxford. She trained as a physician and is an honorary consultant at Oxford’s regional genetic service. Her research combines clinical, molecular and ethico-legal expertise to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the rapid developments in genomics and to effect improved delivery of genomic services to individuals and families.

She leads the Clinical Ethics Law and Society groups at Oxford; has a range of national roles that inform this (eg Chair of Joint Committee on Genomics in Medicine, chair UK Biobank Ethics advisory committee, member National Sceening Committee) and co-leads the UK’s Genethics forum

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Professor Malcolm Dunlop FRSE

Professor Malcolm Dunlop FRSE

MRC Investigator, Chair of Coloproctology, Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Malcolm has an active grant portfolio and a laboratory research programme focused around the ultimate aim of reducing mortality from large bowel cancer through early detection and prevention. He has focused his research on unravelling the genetic architecture of colorectal cancer risk and defining its functional consequences. His team and his collaborators have been highly successful in identifying genes and genetic risk factors predisposing to colorectal cancer. The overarching aim to understand disease causation and apply genetic information is already bearing fruit in cancer prevention strategies.

In partnership with
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Monday October 24th, 2022 18:00-19:00


The Royal Society of Edinburgh