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News > Community news > Charlie Swanton receives the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE II Award

Charlie Swanton receives the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE II Award

The grant will support Charlie Swanton from the Cancer Evolution and Genome Instability Laboratory and Sherene Loi from the University of Melbourne with research on tumour promotion and protection.
6 Dec 2023
Written by Anna Lakey
Community news



The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research ASPIRE program covers research, often high-risk and at early stages, into multiple types of adult and pediatric cancers, encompassing both solid tumors and blood cancers. Projects typically start as an ASPIRE I; those that successfully demonstrate feasibility or proof of concept may be invited to apply for an ASPIRE II to further develop and expand the research, as in Charlie's case. 

Charlie and Sherene's research

With this ASPIRE II award, Charlie will team up with Sherene Loi to expand upon his previous ASPIRE award research, "Environmental EXPosures and Normal tissue Somatic Evolution (EXPANSE)". This work contributed to a growing body of evidence suggesting that many cancer risk factors and environmental carcinogens alter tissue microenvironments and the properties of pre-existing mutant cells to allow for cancer initiation without directly causing mutations, in a process termed “tumor promotion”.

The new project will delve deeper into the mechanisms by which various risk and protective factors modulate the fate of tumor-initiating cells through non-mutagenic pathways. In addition to continuing the work on pollutants and lung cancer, they will investigate the well-documented but poorly understood protective effect of pregnancies and breastfeeding against breast cancer incidence.

"We are very excited to continue our work with the Mark Foundation to understand how air pollution and tumour promoters contribute to initiating lung cancer in an effort to find inflammatory mechanisms that can be attenuated to arrest cancer development." Charlie Swanton 

The project has been awarded US$755,020.

Congratulations to both!

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