Chromosomal instability, a hallmark of cancer, has emerged as a focal point for researchers seeking to unravel the intricacies of tumor development and progression. Although large-scale aberrations in chromosome architecture have been recognized in tumors for over 50 years, the causes, functional outcomes, and therapeutic vulnerabilities of these changes have lagged behind our understating of smaller-scale genetic changes such as point mutations. To shed light on this area of study, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research hosted a two-day workshop at the Bart Cancer Centre in London on June 25-26, 2023. The workshop was organized by Florian Markowetz, PhD, Cambridge University; Sarah McClelland, PhD, Queen Mary University; and Peter Van Loo, PhD, MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The workshop attracted a diverse group of scientists, clinicians, and researchers from around the world, encompassing different areas of expertise such as molecular biology, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, and clinical oncology. The multidisciplinary nature of the event promoted the integration of varied perspectives and methodologies, fostering robust discussions of chromosomal instability and its implications for cancer biology. Attendees presented their ongoing research on the mechanisms underlying chromosomal instability, including defects in DNA repair, alterations in cell cycle control, and disruptions in mitotic processes. The discussions also encompassed the impact of chromosomal instability on tumor heterogeneity, therapy resistance, and disease prognosis, highlighting its clinical relevance.
New collaborations among investigators who attended the workshop are currently under consideration for funding through The Mark Foundation’s ASPIRE award program, in alignment with the foundation’s commitment to bringing together complementary capabilities and supporting bold interdisciplinary initiatives that take on the toughest challenges in cancer research.