Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Cancer on Canvas
19 March 2018

Cancer on Canvas

Aiming to make sense of life and disease, scientists often look for patterns in groups of genes, or examine patient data found across the globe. Some take a completely fresh perspective. In this oil painting, “Looking forward”, cancer researcher Dhruba Deb, shares his interpretation of the spread of the disease. At the centre, healthy cells (green) send chemical, paracrine signals to invading red-coloured cancer cells. The scene captures the irony of cancer progression – immune cells (blue) aim to destroy the cancer, while the body tries to accommodate the cells’ demands – developing new blood vessels to support the cancer (known as angiogenesis, bottom left). The struggles between tumour cells and their environment present a puzzle that often weighs heavy on researchers’ minds. Perhaps few turn to fine art, but most are never far from a notebook and pen – scribbled diagrams that are as precious for clarity as the latest data analysis.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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