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Five stunning scientific images of our cancer research

Researchers at the ICR were challenged to capture in a single image their ground-breaking work making the discoveries that defeat cancer.

Each year at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, we hold a science photography competition to find amazing pictures that illustrate the cutting-edge cancer research being carried out here. We present five of the best images we received for our 2016 awards.

Science Photography and Imaging Competition 2016 Winner

Dr Orli Yogev, Division of Clinical Studies

The winning image in the ICR photo competition 2016, by Orl Yogev

3D confocal image of neuroblastoma bone marrow metastatic neutrospheres

Neuroblastoma is one of the most common childhood cancers and if it returns after initial treatment, is very difficult to treat. This striking image shows neuroblastoma cells from mice which mimic for the first time an aggressive, metastatic form of the disease that has spread to the bone.


Dr Nicola Ferrari, Division of Cancer Biology

Runner Up - Nicola Ferrari

Confocal imaging of a 3D co-culture system to investigate the effects of the tumour microenvironment on cancer

The image shows breast cancer cells in red interacting with neighbouring cells called fibroblasts, in green. The technique displayed can be used to investigate how cells around a tumour affect its growth. 


Dr Julia Sero, Division of Cancer Biology

Shortlisted - Julia Sero

Confocal microscope image of breast epithelial cells at various stages of cell division

The cells in this image have been treated with an inhibitor of myosin light chain kinase, a protein which is responsible for the contraction of structures that control cell shape during cellular division. Tumours tend to be stiffer than nearby tissue, but it’s unclear how chemical signals in cancer cells affect this.


Dr Chris Tape, Division of Cancer Biology

Shortlisted - Chris Tape

Computer visualisation of single-cell mass-cytometry data from a colon cancer microenvironment model

This image shows the expression of 16 different antigens, molecules that trigger an immune reaction in cells, and highlights three distinct cell types in the model. These images demonstrate signalling activity within individual cells in the tumour microenvironment.


Dr Gianmaria Liccardi, Division of Breast Cancer Research 

Shortlisted - Gianmaria Liccardi

A 3D confocal microscope image of a fully developed intestinal organoid

Organoids – 3D-organ-like tissues grown in the lab – allow scientists to study tissue development and cell signalling pathways in an environment that more closely resembles real tissue than cell cultures, and could help to understand tumour adaptation and evolution.

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