Outwitting Cancer: Science in action at Francis Crick Institute exhibition

Visitors at the immersive Outwitting Cancer, at the Francis Crick Institute

Visitors at the immersive Outwitting Cancer, at the Francis Crick Institute - Credit: Fiona Hanson

An exhibition has opened, exploring the trailblazing research that is taking on cancer.

Outwitting Cancer – Making Sense of Nature’s Enigma is an immersive exhibition taking place at the Francis Crick Institute until July 15, 2022.

It is the first exhibition on cancer to take place at a working science laboratory  – one that is home to scientists from across the world.

Eight films capture conversations between cancer researchers, patients and those with personal perspectives on cancer, forming the backbone of the exhibition.

Vivian Li and George Alagiah in conversation for Outwitting Cancer at the Francis Crick Institute

Vivian Li and George Alagiah in conversation for Outwitting Cancer at the Francis Crick Institute - Credit: Jon Cartwright

In one film, BBC journalist George Alagiah, who is living with bowel cancer, meets scientist Vivian Li, as she creates "mini-organs" (organoids) in the quest to personalise cancer treatments.


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Other films tackle the myths of cancer, the role of DNA and the work of pharmaceutical companies.

Dominique Bonnet, an expert in acute myeloid leukaemia, gives journalist Tim Jonze, who is living with a rare blood disease, a behind-the-scenes tour of her labs.

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Paul Nurse, director of the Francis Crick Institute, said: “Unravelling the mysteries of human biology and using this to develop new ways to tackle diseases like cancer is at the heart of what we do at the Crick.

"Over recent years we have seen discoveries about how cancers evolve and new approaches to treating cancer.

"This exhibition will bring to life the journey our researchers are on to understand how cancer starts, spreads and responds to therapy.”  

Curator Yasmin Khan said: “Outwitting Cancer is about the power and potential of cancer research.  

"The exhibition will get into the minds of the brilliant scientists working at the forefront of biological research.  It will seek to dispel confusion through an immersive digital exploration of the complexity of cancer, opening up new conversations around the disease and its future.”

The exhibition features an audiovisual installation in a custom-built cinema. Produced by Studio Prelude and SDNA the film Micro Cosmos weaves together microscopy imagery from Crick researchers, as well as a composition from award-winning artist Mira Calix.

20210917 Copyright image 2021©
Preview imagery of Outwitting Cancer, a new exhibition at The

A visitor reading Onco'Zine at the Francis Crick Institute's - Credit: Fiona Hanson

Alongside the exhibition there will be a programme of events and talks, as well as an online exhibition.

Outwitting Cancer: Making Sense of Nature’s Enigma was developed in collaboration with a patient advisory panel (PAP), which has co-created a zine, Onco’Zine - A  Rough Guide to Cancer, for visitors to take away.

Tickets are free but go to www.crick.ac.uk for bookings and visitor information.

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