Image of the Week: Lung Cancer Cells
This Image of the Week was written by Alice Sheehan.
This month is lung cancer awareness month, which aims to raise the profile of one of the world’s biggest cancer killers.
Cancer is a condition where cells in a part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. Cancer cells invade healthy tissue disrupting their functions or killing them and can for example limit an organs blood supply. Cancer can occur due to a combination of different factors; however some types which have been linked to lifestyle, such as kidney and liver cancers, are becoming more common in some populations.
Our image of the week is of a lung cancer cell in the latter stages of cell division. During cell division a single cell duplicates its genetic information and then splits to form two separate cells. In the image, the two ‘daughter cells’ have nearly separated completely from each other, with only a small bridge of cytoplasm connecting them. This image was produced by Anne Weston in the London Research Institute at Cancer Research UK. Anne created this image using scanning electron microscopy, which bounces electrons off the surface of the cells to provide information on their structure. This information was then used to create a greyscale replica of the cells which was coloured digitally at a later date.
According to statistics from Cancer Research UK, smoking causes over 80% of all lung cancer cases in the UK. Although the number of people smoking has decreased, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in the UK and forms just over 13% of the nation’s cancer cases.
Image Credit: Anne Weston, LRI, CRUK/Wellcome Images
Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. Over 100,000 high resolution images from our historical collections are now free to use under the Creative Commons-Attribution only (CC-BY) licence.