National Physical Laboratory

Grand Challenge: The Research

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How will the team set out to achieve their goal?

The team will use a variety of new mass spectrometry imaging techniques and instruments they've developed to study individual breast, bowel and pancreatic tumours, cancers where they believe they can make the biggest difference, fastest.

From the whole tumour right down to the individual fats and proteins in cells (the metabolites), to the tumour microenvironment, they will map and visualise every bit of these tumours to create faithful 3D representations of them for the first time.

By doing this, they aim to create the equivalent of a 'Google Earth' that will allow you not only to identify a house and where it is in a country, but also who's inside, what they're eating and watching on TV.

They hope that by creating such detailed representations of these tumours, it will improve our understanding of cancer and allow us to identify new and better ways to diagnose and treat the disease.

The team will also create a database containing their data which will be available to researchers around the globe, and strive to create a standardised way for other scientists and doctors to use these new techniques in their work and in the clinic to help them look at other cancers in the same way and speed up progress against the disease.



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