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Scientists can now examine cancer from another perspective

Scientists in Cambridge have built a virtual reality (VR) 3D model of cancer.

The technology allows scientists to study cancer from a new perspective. Prof Greg Hannon, director of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK) explained that „no-one has examined the geography of a tumor in this level of detail before.” The tumor sample, taken from a patient, can be studied in detail and from all angles, with each individual cell mapped. The project is part of an international research. The tumor is rebuilt using virtual reality. The VR system allows multiple users from anywhere in the world to examine the tumor.

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In the virtual laboratory the tissue sample could be magnified to appear several meters across. Prof. Hannon described the VR model as “a tumor ecosystem”. He said cancer isn’t “a monolithic growth to be squashed,” rather, it’s a “complex community of cell types that interact with each other in ways we don’t yet fully understand”. Research is based on financial facts. Teams based at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute – both part of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre – were given two of the four available  £20m grants issued over next five years to do reserch. The money came from the Cancer Research UK Grand Challenge awards.

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