Charlie Swanton

Charles Swanton

Qualifications and history

  • 1995 PhD, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, UK (this became Cancer Research UK in 2002)
  • 2002 Membership Royal College of Physicians
  • 2004-2008 Clinician Scientist Fellowship with Julian Downward at London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK.
  • 2008 Established lab at the London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK
  • 2011 Appointed Chair of Personalised Cancer Medicine at UCL Hospitals.
  • 2015 Group Leader, the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
  • 2016 Appointed Royal Society Napier Professor of Cancer Medicine

Professor Charles Swanton FRCP BSc PhD is a clinician scientist, focusing his work on understanding the challenges inherent in the management of metastatic cancer and their drug resistant and incurable nature. 

Charles completed his PhD in 1998 at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories on the UCL MBPhD programme before completing his medical oncology and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) funded postdoctoral clinician scientist training in 2008.

He was appointed CRUK senior clinical research fellow and Group Leader of the Translational Cancer Therapeutics laboratory at the London Research Institute (now part of the Francis Crick Institute) and consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital in 2008. Charles was appointed Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Chair in Personalised Cancer Medicine at the UCL Cancer Institute and Consultant Thoracic Medical Oncologist at UCL Hospitals in 2011.

Charles is the Chief Investigator of the CRUK TRACERx clinical study to decipher lung cancer evolution and is co-director of the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence.

Charles has published over 210 papers, with first or senior author publications in the New England Journal of MedicineNatureNature GeneticsCancer DiscoveryCancer CellScience and the Lancet Oncology. His work has led to insight into genomic diversity within cancers (intratumour heterogeneity) and molecular mechanisms driving cancer branched evolution.

His multidisciplinary team has discovered that HLA loss of heterozygosity, cancer cytotoxics, DNA replication stress, cancer genome doubling events and the APOBEC3B cytidine deaminase precipitate cancer diversity, accelerating cancer evolution, providing the substrate for cancer drug resistance and treatment failure.

Charles was appointed Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015. Charles was awarded the Stand up to Cancer Translational Cancer Research Prize (2015), Glaxo Smithkline Biochemical Society Prize (2016), San Salvatore prize for Cancer Research (2017) and the Ellison-Cliffe Medal, Royal Society of Medicine (2017). Charles was appointed Napier Professor in Cancer by the Royal Society in 2016. Charles was elected EMBO member and was appointed the Cancer Research UK Chief Clinician in 2017 and was awarded the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre Kraft Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research in 2018.