Ian Campbell lab

The Ian Campbell lab, also known as, Cancer Genetics lab, has a major focus on the identification of germline and somatic mutations that drive the development of breast and ovarian cancer

Many breast and ovarian cancer run in families (termed hereditary cancers), but only about a third of these familial cancers are caused by genes we know about such as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women with a family history of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer where the gene causing it is unknown are not able to be provided with reliable advice on how to reduce future cancer risk for themselves or family members. Unfortunately, there have been very few significant gene discoveries since the identification of BRCA1 and BRCA2 back in the early 1990s. Work from our laboratory suggest the slow progress is likely because there are dozens of new hereditary breast and ovarian cancer genes but with each individually only responsible for a very small proportion of families. This situation makes it much harder to prove that any individual gene has a role in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. To overcome this problem the Ian Campbell lab is combining different types of genetic information from large cohorts of breast and ovarian cancer families including more than 9000 women with unexplained hereditary cancer in the ViP study and a matched cohort of 55,000 women without cancer (the Lifepool study). Women recruited into ViP and Lifepool maintain a strong and ongoing partnership with the research which enables us to apply novel strategies and on a scale that is unmatched anywhere in the world.  In summary, the gene discovery work in the Cancer Genetics Laboratory is world leading as a consequence of the powerful partnership between research scientists, clinical geneticist and the engagement of thousands of families with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

Current projects