There’s only one month left to discover the critically acclaimed world-first free exhibition exploring the revolution in science that is transforming cancer care at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, before it closes on 27 March. 

Created by The Science Museum Group, with support from expert partner Cancer Research UK, over 31,000 people from across the UK and beyond have visited Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope

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At a key moment in time when one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, yet more of us than ever before are living longer, and better with the disease and beyond.

Combining more than 100 seldom and never-before seen objects, personal stories, cutting edge treatment and research, brand new art commissions, film, photography and interactive exhibits, the exhibition, created with those with lived experience of cancer and with over 500 partners, participants and contributors from across the globe has given visitors an unprecedented insight into the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated.

Revealing how researchers, clinicians, policy makers and patients are fuelling progress in a powerful expression of shared hope.

Described by The Telegraph as “Bold and brave” and by visitors as “incredibly moving and uplifting”, “stunning” and unmissable with “science, in an understandable form, with relevant human experiences”- now is the final chance to experience this powerful exhibition in Manchester, a city known world-wide for its pioneering cancer treatment and research.

Find out the story of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust’s transformative ‘Manchester Method for radiotherapy’ through never-before-seen objects, discover how Virtual Reality is being used to study cancer and shape treatments, learn how the ground-breaking Manchester Lung Health Checksfrom Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) are using mobile screening trucks at supermarkets to detect lung cancer in communities, and join over a thousand other visitors who have contributed their own experiences to a Wall of Hope.

Other unmissable highlights include the first malignant dinosaur bone tumour to be found on display for the very first time in the UK. On 9 March, visitors also have the chance to attend a special free ticketed museum “Late” event, A Shared Hope, which will combine art and science to explore the different ways in which cancer can affect our lives, and celebrate the people working to transform cancer care, from scientists and researchers to patients and their families and friends.

The event includes the first live performance of Innit, love? by acclaimed Mancunian poet Tony Walsh (AKA Longfella) created on behalf of Greater Manchester Cancer to mark World Cancer Day 2021; interactive activities with Cancer Research UK; and cookery demonstrations from Ryan Riley, best-selling author, cook and founder of Life Kitchen, a not-for-profit cookery school for people whose senses of taste and smell have been seriously impacted by cancer treatment related treatment or COVID.

As well as inspiring conversations with actress and singer Victoria Ekanoye, University Professor of Cancer Studies in the Division of Cancer Sciences (The University of Manchester) and Chief Academic Officer at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust Professor Robert Bristow, and Marcella Turner founder and CEO of CanSurviveUK, chaired by award-winning investigative journalist, presenter and director Qasa Alom.

Sally MacDonald, Director of the Science and Industry Museum said:

We have been moved, humbled and blown-away by the incredible feedback visitors are sharing with us. This is a very special exhibition experience on a subject which is resonating strongly.”

Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope will run until Sunday 27 March. It is free, but booking is essential (either online or by calling 033 0058 0058). Following its run in Manchester, Cancer Revolution will tour to the Science Museum in London from 25 May to January 2023. To find out more information and to book free tickets, visit https://www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/cancer-revolution

A Shared Hope late event will take place on 9 March from 19.00. To find out more information and to book free tickets, visit https://www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/a-shared-hope

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Stories of diverse cancer patient experiences gathered through a special Science Museum Group collaborative collecting project show no two experiences are the same. From the beads marking every step on a child’s treatment journey to the wig stand decorated by a daughter, and a garden fork integral to an individual’s recovery, visitors will get to know the individuals behind highly personal items.
  • On display for the very first time in the UK, the first malignant bone tumour to be identified in a dinosaur fossil, discovered in 2020, will reveal the surprising truth that rather than being a modern disease, cancer has long affected living things including dinosaurs from prehistoric times to the plants that are around us today.
  • Never-before-displayed objects, including a cast for holding in place radium seeds in the treatment of skin cancer of the hand from the 1950s, tell the story of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust’s transformative ‘Manchester Method for radiotherapy’ which originated in Manchester and revolutionised the practice of radiotherapy around the world.
  • Many of the latest technologies and treatments transforming cancer care including the Cytosponge (swallowed like a pill this is reshaping the early detection of signs of oesophageal cancer) and the Galleri test (which is designed to detect over 50 types of cancer from one blood sample and is currently being trialled by the NHS).
  • 10 pioneering studies featured together for the first time, including the work of the CanBuild Project team who are building tumours from scratch – engineering mini tumours that realistically grow and change like human cancers, with the aim of improving how new treatments are tested and to look for new therapies that target the cells that support tumour growth.
  • Artworks provide poignant and contemplative moments including the premiere of an atmospheric soundscape by renowned artist Katharine Dowson – featuring the voices ten years on of some of the patients included in her accompanying ‘Silent Stories’ glass radiotherapy mask sculpture art installation, photography from Nudrat Afza’s ‘Shadow and Light’ collection which captures her sister’s breast cancer treatment journey on public display for the first time, and a glass sculpture by artist Luke Jerram depicting the Papillomavirus, part of his ‘Glass Microbiology’ series.
  • 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.
  • Encounter up close the complex make-up of tumours through three-metre large scale tumour 3D installation created especially for the exhibition.
  • A specially commissioned Hallmarks of Cancer light installation by CLAY Interactive Ltd shows how cancer cells behave.
  • Interactive digital exhibits test visitors understanding of cancer and put what they are discovering into action; including exploring the differences between cancerous and normal cells, a quiz myth-busting the causes of cancer, and treating a tumour using different therapies. 
  • live research and dialogue section gives visitors the opportunity to open-up conversations about cancer – sharing their own experiences and the chance to vote for which research area needs the most attention.

At the Science and Industry Museum, the exhibition is funded by principal sponsor Pfizer and major sponsor QIAGEN, with support from Redx Pharma Plc.

At the Science Museum, the exhibition is funded by principal sponsor Pfizer, with support from Julian Howard.