Learn About Cancer Through Art
Meet a cancer cell in person in five short films.
The project Learn About Cancer Through Art (LACTA) with initial funding from the University of Bergen aims at using art as a tool to disseminate knowledge about cancer biology in a non-sensational manner. We collaborate with artists, involve them into active discussions about selected aspects of cancer biology, and challenge them to transform their experience from the laboratory into art. This way we can offer university level science to the public communicated in ways intuitively understood without science background. The project uses short film, theatre, installation, paintings and photo.
The World’s worst Colleague
Here we show four of what will be a series of eight filmed scenes where the audience meets the cancer cell in person. Each scene illustrates one or more characteristics of the cancer cell as described by cancer researchers Weinberg and Hanahan, 2011.
The cancer cell works in the Corporate Body and is most likely the "World’s Worst Colleague". In these films we follow the cancer cell's career from the initial sign of megalomania to a full-blown metastasizing tumour. A cancer cell manipulates, deceives and exploits normal cells in the body using methods one would think required a brain to come up with. That implies dressing up by expressing proteins on the surface of the cell that make normal cells confuse the cancer cell for another. It involves pretending to be a damaged cell and therefore receive help from the immune system. It includes instructing tissues in organs far away to welcome a migration cancer cell. The cell has changed its personality from a normal, collectively oriented cell to become a selfish asshole. The cancer cell is a sociopath of the body.
1) The cancer scientist introduces: Why do you need to know how a cancer cell thinks?
2) Normal cells require growth signals from their surrounding in order to move into an active proliferative state. Cancer cells are self-sufficient and do not depend on such signals to grow.
3) Oxygen and nutrients supplied by blood vessels are necessary for survival of all types of cells. Cancer cells have the ability to recruit blood vessels to secure continuous supply of food, blood vessels they don’t even use effectively.
4) Cancer cells have the ability to escape surveillance by the immune system by hiding their identity as “bad” cells.
5) During tumour development, some cancer cells acquire the ability to leave the primary tumour mass, invade their surrounding and take up the space there. Some of those might even travel to distant sites via blood or lymph vessels where they might succeed in forming new colonies.