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Microparticle drug delivery Aspirin crystals Portrait of Professor Sir Harold Kroto FRS Sensory nerve fibres Bird of paradise plant seed Capillary network Embryonic mouse head In vitro fertilisation Amchi Tala, Tibetan doctor Summer plankton Engineering DNA Premature baby in an incubator Villi in the small intestine Mechanical heart Skin cells from a scald Lung cancer cell

Lung cancer cell

Anne Weston, London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK

Lung cancer cell

Download this image from Wellcome Collection.

A single cell grown from a culture of lung epithelial cancer cells. The purple spheres are 'blebs': irregular bulges where the cell's internal scaffolding - its cytoskeleton - becomes unlinked from the surface membrane. Scanning electron micrograph.

How far have we come in looking at cancer?

Modern imaging techniques such as electron microscopy allow scientists to examine how tissues and cells are changed by cancer and other diseases. Previously, illustrations were used to show cancer's destructive nature - this 1888 image from W Fox's 'Pathological Anatomy of the Lungs' shows pneumonia with cancer of the lung and bronchial gland.

anatomy of the lungs 

What work are we doing on cancer?

Organisations across the world continue to look for a cure for cancer. Cancer Research UK, the charity behind this image, is dedicated to beating cancer through research.

As part of this aim, Cancer Research UK, in partnership with the Wellcome Trust and the University of Cambridge, has founded the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge. There, scientists are studying developmental biology - how cells develop and maintain their normal function - and cancer, the result of a cell breaking loose from its correct controls and becoming abnormal.