Michael Stratton

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This article is about the cancer researcher. For the American football player, see Mike Stratton.
Michael Stratton
Born Michael Rudolf Stratton
(1957-06-22) 22 June 1957 (age 57)[1]
Institutions Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Institute of Cancer Research
Guy's Hospital
University of Oxford[1]
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford
Thesis Role of genetic alterations in the genesis of human soft tissue tumours and medulloblastoma (1990)
Known for Cancer Genome Project
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society (2008)
EMBO member (2009)[2]
Knight Bachelor (2013)
PhD (1990)[3]
Spouse Judith Breuer[1]

Sir Michael Rudolf Stratton, FRS, FMedSci, FRCPath (born 22 June 1957) is a British clinical scientist and the third director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He currently heads the Cancer Genome Project and is a leader of the International Cancer Genome Consortium.[4][5]


Stratton was educated at the independent Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School and obtained a medical degree from the University of Oxford and Guy's Hospital before training as a histopathologist at the Hammersmith and Maudsley Hospitals in London. He obtained a PhD while working on Medulloblastomas[3] in the molecular biology of cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research.


Stratton has held clinical posts at Guy’s Hospital, Westminster Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital.[1] He took up a Faculty appointment and now holds a Professorship at the Institute of Cancer Research. He joined the Sanger Institute in 2000 and was promoted to deputy director in 2007. In May 2010, he was appointed director, succeeding Allan Bradley.[6]


Michael Stratton's research interests[7] are in the area of genetics of cancer. In 1994 he assembled a research group that localized BRCA2, a major breast cancer susceptibility gene that repairs chromosomal damage, to chromosome 13.[8] The following year his team identified the gene and, in doing so generated a megabase segment of high-quality human genome sequence.[9][10] His subsequent work has involved the identification of more moderate cancer susceptibility genes such as CHEK2,[11] ATM[12] and PALB2[13] each of which play a role in some breast cancers. He has additionally identified genes implicated in the development of skin, testis, colorectal and thyroid cancers, Wilms tumour and Peutz–Jeghers syndrome.[14]

At the announcement of the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2000, Stratton discussed using genome sequences to revolutionize cancer treatment.[10] He and Andy Futreal had already initiated the Cancer Genome Project at the Sanger Centre, as it was then known, to utilize genome-wide analysis to find somatic mutations in human cancers. According to fellow cancer researcher Chris Marshall, doing so prior to the completion of the human genome sequence was an "audacious idea." [15] The aims of the project are to identify new cancer genes, to understand how cancers develop and to study how the structure of genomes influence cancer. In 2002 and 2004, Stratton's team discovered mutations in the BRAF[16] and ERBB2[17] genes in approximately 60 per cent of malignant melanomas and 4 per cent of non-small-cell lung cancers respectively.[14]

In 2009, Stratton and colleagues reported the first complete cancer genomes, from a lung tumour and a melanoma.[10][18] They also analyzed the genomes from 24 different breast tumours and found a diversity of DNA abnormalities, indicating that cancers can be divided in more subcategories than previously thought.[18][19] Stratton's team maintain the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) database, a set of online resources available to the scientific community.[20] He is also one of the lead researchers in the International Cancer Genome Project, a £600 million, multi-national project to sequence 25 000 cancer genomes, from 50 different types of cancer.[14]


Stratton was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008, elected a member of EMBO in 2009 and was awarded the Lila Gruber Cancer Research Award in 2010.[21][22] He was knighted in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to medical science.[23][24]


  1. ^ a b c d e "STRATTON, Prof. Michael Rudolf". ’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012. (subscription required)
  2. ^ http://www.biochemist.org/society/page.htm?item=37150 EMBO welcomes 66 leading life scientists as members
  3. ^ a b Stratton, Michael (1990). Role of genetic alterations in the genesis of human soft tissue tumours and medulloblastoma (PhD thesis). Institute for Cancer Research. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Michael Stratton from the Scopus bibliographic database.
  5. ^ Michael Stratton's publications in Google Scholar
  6. ^ "Professor Mike Stratton appointed new Director". Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Retrieved 2010-15-20. 
  7. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  8. ^ Wooster, R.; Neuhausen, S.; Mangion, J.; Quirk, Y.; Ford, D.; Collins, N.; Nguyen, K.; Seal, S.; Tran, T.; Averill, D.; Et, A. (1994). "Localization of a breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2, to chromosome 13q12-13". Science 265 (5181): 2088–2090. doi:10.1126/science.8091231. PMID 8091231.  edit
  9. ^ Wooster, R.; Bignell, G.; Lancaster, J.; Swift, S.; Seal, S.; Mangion, J.; Collins, N.; Gregory, S.; Gumbs, C.; Micklem, G.; Barfoot, R.; Hamoudi, R.; Patel, S.; Rices, C.; Biggs, P.; Hashim, Y.; Smith, A.; Connor, F.; Arason, A.; Gudmundsson, J.; Ficenec, D.; Kelsell, D.; Tonin, P.; Timothy Bishop, D.; Spurr, N. K.; Ponder, B. A. J.; Eeles, R.; Peto, J.; Devilee, P.; Cornelisse, C. (1995). "Identification of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2". Nature 378 (6559): 789–792. doi:10.1038/378789a0. PMID 8524414.  edit
  10. ^ a b c Chrissie Giles (24 June 2010). "Great expectations: human genome research". Wellcome News. Wellcome Trust. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Meijers-Heijboer H, van den Ouweland A, Klijn J, et al. (May 2002). "Low-penetrance susceptibility to breast cancer due to CHEK2(*)1100delC in noncarriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations". Nat. Genet. 31 (1): 55–9. doi:10.1038/ng879. PMID 11967536. 
  12. ^ Renwick A, Thompson D, Seal S, et al. (August 2006). "ATM mutations that cause ataxia-telangiectasia are breast cancer susceptibility alleles". Nat. Genet. 38 (8): 873–5. doi:10.1038/ng1837. PMID 16832357. 
  13. ^ Rahman N, Seal S, Thompson D, et al. (February 2007). "PALB2, which encodes a BRCA2-interacting protein, is a breast cancer susceptibility gene". Nat. Genet. 39 (2): 165–7. doi:10.1038/ng1959. PMC 2871593. PMID 17200668. 
  14. ^ a b c "Mike Stratton". Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Website. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  15. ^ Karen Hopkin (1 June 2009). "On the MAP". The Scientist. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Davies H, Bignell GR, Cox C, et al. (June 2002). "Mutations of the BRAF gene in human cancer". Nature 417 (6892): 949–54. doi:10.1038/nature00766. PMID 12068308. 
  17. ^ Stephens P, Hunter C, Bignell G, et al. (September 2004). "Lung cancer: intragenic ERBB2 kinase mutations in tumours". Nature 431 (7008): 525–6. doi:10.1038/431525b. PMID 15457249. 
  18. ^ a b Mark Henderson (December 24, 2009). "Breast cancer is not a single disease, scientists discover". The Times. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  19. ^ Stephens PJ, McBride DJ, Lin ML, et al. (December 2009). "Complex landscapes of somatic rearrangement in human breast cancer genomes". Nature 462 (7276): 1005–10. doi:10.1038/nature08645. PMC 3398135. PMID 20033038. 
  20. ^ Forbes SA, Tang G, Bindal N, et al. (January 2010). "COSMIC (the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer): a resource to investigate acquired mutations in human cancer". Nucleic Acids Res. 38 (Database issue): D652–7. doi:10.1093/nar/gkp995. PMC 2808858. PMID 19906727. 
  21. ^ http://www.sanger.ac.uk/about/press/2010/100318.html
  22. ^ http://www.embo.org/news/embo-welcomes-66-leading-life-scientists-as-members.html
  23. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60534. p. 2. 15 June 2013.
  24. ^ Michael Stratton, cancer gene scientist, knighted, BBC News, 14 June, 3013
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Allan Bradley
Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

External links[edit]