Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Catch circulating tumour cells in our 'hurricane tube'.
  • Manipulate cells using our giant labyrinth game.
  • Explore an interactive tool to learn more about the effects of lung cancer.


A simple blood test could transform the treatment of lung cancer.

Every cell has a story. In this video you'll learn how a simple blood test could transform the treatment of lung cancer.

Cancer survival rates have doubled in the UK over the past 40 years, but the outlook for people with lung cancer has remained bleak. We’ve increased research efforts to tackle this terrible disease and have hit upon a blood test for circulating tumour cells (CTCs) that could hold the key to better diagnosis and treatment.

As lung cancer grows CTCs break off into the bloodstream. We’ve discovered that the level of CTCs in patients with one type of lung cancer relates to their survival – patients with fewer CTCs live longer. This suggests we could use CTCs to track how a lung cancer is responding to treatment. The blood test is more accurate and much less painful than current methods of monitoring, and it could help doctors quickly change patients’ treatments for better results. We have also examined the genomes of single CTCs, paving the way for treatments targeted to patients’ individual disease.

Lead image: A lung cancer cell divides inside the body. A simple blood test could reveal circulating tumour cells (CTCs) to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients. Credit: © arinarici/istock.