Air pollution and cancer link explored at 2024 Linacre Lecture

Historic lecture to be delivered by Professor Charles Swanton of The Francis Crick Institute

Professor Charles Swanton, Deputy Clinical Director at The Francis Crick Institutewill give the 2024 St John’s College Linacre Lecture.

This year’s lecture will take place on Thursday 15 February at 5.30pm in the Main Lecture Theatre of the Old Divinity School.

The Swanton Lab studies how cancers evolve in the body to spread and become resistant to therapy and finds new ways to treat them more effectively.

Professor Charles Swanton
Professor Charles Swanton.

Titled Air Pollution and Lung Cancer Initiation: The beginning of the end or the end of the beginning , Professor Swanton’s Linacre Lecture will look at the lab’s research into the links between air pollution and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in people who have never smoked.

NSCLC is a disease with high frequency mutations in the gene for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) – a protein on cells that helps them grow. These mutations can make the gene grow too much, which can cause cancer. Air pollution particulate matter (PM) is known to be associated with the risk of NSCLC, however a direct cause and mechanism have remained elusive.

Professor Swanton will talk about the research carried out to address the associations of increasing PM concentrations with cancer risk in a study involving more than 463,600 people.

Their findings provide ‘an urgent mandate’ to limit air pollution and reveal opportunities for molecular-targeted cancer prevention.

The prestigious annual Linacre Lecture, delivered by a leading research scientist in the general field of medicine, was established in 1524 by a benefaction from Thomas Linacre, physician to Henry VIII and first President of the Royal College of Physicians. The lectures are open to all members of the University.

The 2024 lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in the Central Hall of the Old Divinity School.

Use the link to register by Friday 9 February 2024. Early registration is advisable as places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Banner photo: Lung cancer awareness image. Credit: David A Litman/Shutterstock.

Published 18/01/2024

Back to College News