Art & Culture

Science Museum Group announces ‘world-first’ Cancer Revolution exhibition

'Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope' is the first major exhibition to reveal the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated.

The Manc The Manc - 28th July 2021

The Science & Industry Museum in Manchester has announced a major new free exhibition exploring the scientific revolution transforming global cancer care.  

Opening in October 2021, Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation and hope has been described as a ‘world-first’; revealing the past, present and future of how cancer is prevented, detected and treated. 

Created by the Science Museum Group with support from Cancer Research UK, the exhibition investigates how more of us are living longer with the disease than ever before – with one in two diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.

Cancer Revolution will feature stories of people affected by cancer, together with those who study and treat it – showcasing the progress made by researchers, clinicians, policymakers and patients. It will also examine how the disease has been treated over the centuries, from high-risk surgeries to the discovery of the first chemotherapy drugs.

Cancer Revolution is coming to Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry in autumn 2021

Katie Dabin, Lead Curator of the exhibition, says the revolution in cancer care is “about more than just science”. 


“There’s a profound shift in expectations and attitudes – cancer is no longer regarded as a terminal disease or as a disease that can’t be mentioned by name,” she stated.

“Today, more people than ever before can be treated or live with the disease for a long time. Hope has broken the silence that surrounded cancer.


“Whilst we can’t cancer-proof our lives, we can take agency in the face of it – from speaking more openly about it, being aware of its causes and symptoms, dispelling misconceptions and stigma, and by being open to finding out more about it.

“Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer. So much progress has been made in the global fight against the disease and this inspirational exhibition will show our optimism for the future.”

Katie Dabin, Lead Curator of the exhibition says that the revolution happening in cancer care is “about more than just science”. 

Deborah James, exhibition advisor, writer and podcaster, was diagnosed with Stage Four bowel cancer five years ago – and took part in trials which have “given hope and life to others”.


“Science has always given me hope to take things one step at a time,” she said.

“I was given two and a half extra years of life, on a targeted drug combination not even on the table when I was first diagnosed.

“Through this exhibition we can open up the conversation of cancer even more – throw down the veil, and educate a new generation to know that prevention is key, science is wonderful, and always to have hope.”

The exhibition will present the stories of people affected by cancer, together with those who study and treat it

Features of Cancer Revolution include info on cutting-edge treatment, live research, artist installations, film, photography and personal stories from those living with the disease. 

Displays also feature the latest technologies advancing cancer science and therapy today, including mini-tumours engineered to study cancer and virtual reality tumour maps. 


The exhibition is supported by principal sponsor Pfizer and major sponsor QIAGEN, along with Redx Pharma Plc. 

Information and tickets are set to be released ahead of Cancer Revolution: Science, innovation opening in Manchester in autumn.

The Science & Industry Museum is currently hosting Top Secret – an exhibition focused on cybercrime, codebreaking and GCHQ – and Use Hearing Protection – exploring the early days of Factory Records.

Read more about what’s on here.