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Science Museum Group announces world-first exhibition, Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope

The Science Museum Group announces a major new free exhibition exploring the revolution in science that is transforming cancer care.

Opening at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester in October 2021 and the Science Museum in London in May 2022, Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope is the first major object-rich exhibition to reveal the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated. 

Created by the Science Museum Group with support from expert partner Cancer Research UK, this world-first exhibition, explores how, at a pivotal moment when one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime, more of us than ever before are living longer, and better with the disease and beyond.  

The exhibition will present the stories of people affected by cancer, together with those who study and treat it, revealing how researchers, clinicians, policymakers and patients are fuelling progress in a powerful expression of shared hope. 

From busting myths about the causes of cancer, to exploring how the disease isn't unique to humans and how the latest cancer science, early detection technologies and immunotherapies are advancing cancer care today, Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope shows how far we have come. The exhibition also shows how cancer has been treated over the centuries, from high-risk surgeries to the discovery of the first chemotherapy drugs, and also the important challenges that remain to be solved. 

Katie Dabin, Lead Curator of Cancer Revolution says: 

"Despite the advances in survival that have been made, there are still big questions to address. 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?"

Cancer Revolution will introduce visitors to the researchers and remarkable science that is transforming our understanding of the disease and ways of treating it—particularly in its more advanced stages. It also focuses on new technologies to detect the disease in its earliest stages. From constructing mini-tumours, to creating virtual reality ones, cancer scientists are studying how cancers grow and change in more detail than ever before. Visitors will be introduced to therapies that re-engineer immune cells to better recognise cancer and novel technologies that are helping to detect cancer earlier.  

Katie Dabin added:

"What we'll show is that the revolution happening in cancer care is also about more than just science. There’s a profound shift in expectations and attitudes—cancer is no longer regarded as a terminal disease or as a disease that can’t be mentioned by name. Today more people than ever before can be treated or live with the disease for a long time. Hope has broken the silence that surrounded cancer. Whilst we can't cancer-proof our lives, we can take agency in the face of it—from speaking more openly about it, being aware of its causes and symptoms, dispelling misconceptions and stigma, and by being open to finding out more about it."

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, says:

"This major new 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—a disease that has such a devastating impact on millions of people and families.

"The last 16 months have highlighted the value of investing in science and medical research, and what can be achieved with collective focus and collaboration. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer. So much progress has been made in the global fight against the disease and this inspirational exhibition will show our optimism for the future."

Deborah James, exhibition advisor, writer and podcaster says: 

"Five years ago I was diagnosed with advanced (stage 4) bowel cancer. From the bleakness, I’ve ridden the wings of science into a future I never thought I’d see. Science has always given me hope to take things one step at a time. I was given two and a half extra years of life, on a targeted drug combination not even on the table when I was first diagnosed. By taking part in trials, I have become part of the data that will give hope and life to others, and I couldn’t be prouder. One day I hope my own children will live in a world where cancer is a chronic disease. Through this exhibition we can open up the conversation of cancer even more—throw down the veil, and educate a new generation to know that prevention is key, science is wonderful, and always to have hope."

With further information and tickets to be released this autumn, Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope has been shaped through collaboration with people living with, treating and affected by cancer. Hear the scientists, clinicians and patients in their own words as they determinedly work together to help people live longer and better with cancer.

Highlights include seldom and never-before seen objects and stories, cutting edge treatment, live research and reflection, new artist commissions and installations, film, photography and a breadth of personal stories including from those living with chronic and advanced cancer. 

The exhibition brings together a fascinating tapestry of historic objects documenting how far cancer care has come, including key collections loaned from: the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada; Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; Wellcome Trust; University of Manchester Museum of Medicine and Health; Natural History Museum; and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, displayed alongside objects from the Science Museum Group Collection.  

Displays also feature the latest technologies advancing cancer science and therapy today, from mini-tumours engineered to study cancer, virtual reality tumour maps and laboratories, to developments in immunotherapies. The exhibition shares stories of the scientists and clinicians advancing cancer science and care, from institutions as diverse as CRUK Manchester and Cambridge Institutes, the Institute of Cancer Research, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, The Francis Crick Institute, Moffitt Cancer Centre Florida, International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Royal Marsden Hospital, amongst many others.  

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

Visit the Science and Industry Museum and Science Museum websites and sign up to their newsletters to be the first to find out more.  

Notes to editors

For more information, interviews and images please contact Rachel Conway at rachel.conway@scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk or on 0161 696 7785. 

Listings

Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope 
22 October 2021 – March 2022 
Science and Industry Museum, Manchester 

https://www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/cancer-revolution 

Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope
May – October 2022
Science Museum, London 

https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/see-and-do/cancer-revolution-science-innovation-and-hope 

About the Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon.

We share the stories of innovations and people that shaped our world and are transforming the future, constantly reinterpreting our astonishingly diverse collection of 7.3 million items spanning science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Standout objects include the record-breaking locomotive Flying Scotsman, Richard Arkwright’s textile machinery, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and the earliest surviving recording of British television.

Our mission is to inspire futures—igniting curiosity among people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, our museums attract more than 600,000 visits by education groups, while our touring exhibition programme brings our creativity and scholarship to audiences across the globe. More information can be found at sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk.    

About Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. 

Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. 

Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years. 

Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years. 

Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses. 

Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. 

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow on Twitter and Facebook

About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives 

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable healthcare around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. In the UK, Pfizer has its business headquarters in Surrey and is a major supplier of medicines to the NHS. To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at www.pfizer.co.uk or follow us on Twitter (@Pfizer_UK), Facebook (@PfizerUK) and Instagram (@pfizeruk). 

About QIAGEN 

QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands-based holding company, is the leading global provider of Sample to Insight solutions that enable customers to gain valuable molecular insights from samples containing the building blocks of life. Our sample technologies isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from blood, tissue and other materials. Assay technologies make these biomolecules visible and ready for analysis. Bioinformatics software and knowledge bases interpret data to report relevant, actionable insights. Automation solutions tie these together in seamless and cost-effective workflows. QIAGEN provides solutions to more than 500,000 customers around the world in Molecular Diagnostics (human healthcare) and Life Sciences (academia, pharma R&D and industrial applications, primarily forensics). As of March 31, 2021, QIAGEN employed approximately 5,700 people in over 35 locations worldwide. Further information can be found at http://www.qiagen.com

Part of the Science Museum Group