02:47am Monday 16 December 2019

When cancer meets fashion

The science-inspired dress received the name TransmutationThe science-inspired dress received the name Transmutation

The catwalk creation is based on the work of Dr Esther Baena, a junior group leader conducting scientific studies at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, based at The University of Manchester. 

The dress was part of a project to take scientific research to a new audience. It depicts the tumour transformation process from normal to malignant and invasive cancerous cells and has been featured on live models at the Descience Runway show 2014 held at the MIT Media Lab in Boston, a garment exhibition at The Koch Institute in Cambridge and more recently at a runway show held at the Liberty Hotel in Boston.

Other dresses in the Descience project include a garment inspired by marine life and another representing research done in fruit flies. They form part of the Descience project getting people to think about science in a more accessible way.

Dr Baena, who lives in Manchester city centre, shared photos and explanations of her research with fashion designer Arielle Gogh via Skype and email in her spare time.

Dr Baena, who is also part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre, said: “My studies focus on prostate cancer, the second most diagnosed cancer among men. I hope it has got people who wouldn’t normally think about science or cancer research talking about this important subject. The biggest incentive for me as a scientist to take part in this project was so I could help transform my research into something tangible and visually appealing.

“We made the cell shapes look increasingly rough to show tumour progression and used stronger staining to differentiate between normal and cancerous cells.”

The garment will now go on a tour around the world to promote science globally.


Notes for editors


For more details, please contact:

Alison Barbuti

Senior Press Officer

Cancer Research UK | North West Region

Email | alison.barbuti@cancer.org.uk

About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
  • Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Today, 2 in 4 people survive cancer. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that 3 in 4 people will survive cancer within the next 20 years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.

Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org.

Learn more about Descience

Descience is a unique concept that aims to foster the collaboration between two creative worlds, providing science with a new language, and giving fashion a new platform for appreciation. The vision is to create a reality where science will become tangible and accessible to anyone, regardless of educational background.  It’s led by a team of five women: Executive Director Yuly Fuentes, PhD; Science Director Patricia Torregrosa Paredes, PhD; Fashion Director Claire Jarvis; Director of Communications April Gardner; Creative Business Director Isidora Valdes. Descience is supported by a diverse group of visionary advisors, including Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab; Bryan Rafanelli, renowned event planner for the White House; Lisa Hughes, co-anchor of WBZ-TV; Atsuko Toko Fish; Rebeca de Vives; Hugh Herr; Christine Reif; Ari-Daniel Shapiro; Kimberly A. Kramer; and Ginny Fordham. It is fiscally sponsored by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, a 501(c)(3) public charity. This year’s capstone event is Descience Runway, where the collaborative vision between scientists and fashion designers are highlighted. http://fashiondescience.com

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