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Science Museum Group launching world-first cancer exhibition

Science Museum Group is opening a world-first exhibition in London and Manchester that explores cancer care.


The Science Museum Group is opening an exhibition exploring the transformation of cancer care at the Science Museum in London and Science & Industry Museum in Manchester.

‘Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope’ is set to debut at the Science Museum in summer 2022 and at the Science & Industry Museum on October 22, 2021, running through March 2022.

The exhibition, with support from Cancer Research UK, will offer a look at the revolution in science that is transforming cancer care, at a time when one in two people will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

Cancer Revolution reveals the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated via objects, stories, research, installations, films, photography and interactive exhibits.

Featuring 125 objects and 30 personal stories, the Science Museum Group offering reveals how cancer has been treated over the years, also focusing on new technologies being used to detect the disease.

Cancer Revolution exhibition

science museum group cancer exhibit

“We are immensely proud to be able to bring to life for the very first time the awe-inspiring story of how far cancer treatment has come,” said Katie Dabin, lead curator of Cancer Revolution.

“Despite the advances in survival that have been made, there are still big questions to address,” Dabin added.

“Why do treatments sometimes stop working? Why does cancer come back in some people but not others? How can we help more people with cancer live better and longer?”

Exhibition highlights include cancer patient experiences, as well as the first malignant bone tumour to be identified in a dinosaur fossil, on display in the UK for the first time.

Cancer Revolution also explores some of the latest technologies and treatments that are transforming care, including the Cytosponge and Galleri test, which is currently being trialled by the NHS.

Artworks include an atmospheric soundscape by artist Katharine Dowson and her ‘Silent Stories’ glass radiotherapy mask sculpture art installation, as well as a glass sculpture by artist Luke Jerram depicting the Papillomavirus.

Cancer Research UK support

science museum group cancer exhibit

Guests can also hear what life is like inside a chemotherapy treatment day unit through an immersive audio soundscape recorded at Tameside Macmillan Unit, part of the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

In addition, Cancer Revolution will feature an enormous 3D tumour installation, and the Hallmarks of Cancer light installation by CLAY Interactive.

Interactive digital exhibits include learning about the differences between cancerous and normal cells, a myth-busting quiz about the causes of cancer, and a live research and dialogue section.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said the exhibition “will show how cancer care is being revolutionised thanks to research, which is making transformative steps in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer”.

Mitchell said cancer “has such a devastating impact on millions of people and families” but that “so much progress has been made in the global fight against the disease”.

“This past year has highlighted the value of investing in science and medical research, and what can be achieved with collective focus and collaboration,” she added.

Images: Science Museum Group

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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