Breast Cancer Now announces the winning image from the Breast Cancer Research Image Competition 2017, in partnership with the journal Breast Cancer Research.

Friday 7 July 2017      Research blog
Image of breast tumours (blue) surrounded by many different cells of the immune system, including a cell known as the M2 macrophage (centre, red and yellow).

The winning image - Ansel Lim's 'Rainbow Kaleidoscope'

Breast Cancer Now is delighted to announce that Ansel Lim, a fourth year medical student from the National University of Singapore, has won the Breast Cancer Research Image Competition 2017.

From 18 April to 9 June 2017, researchers from all over the world submitted their beautiful and varied images revealing different aspects of breast cancer research. Ansel Lim’s spectacular 'Rainbow Kaleidoscope' stole the show with a fascinating shot which shows a breast cancer tumour surrounded by immune cells, including the immune cell known as an M2 macrophage – thought to be an accomplice in the spread of triple negative breast cancer, which is a particularly aggressive form of the disease.

This intriguing shot highlights one of the key areas that researchers are now focusing on, to help better understand how breast cancer cells interact with the other cells in their local environment – such as immune cells – and how these surrounding cells can help the tumour to grow and spread. Understanding the relationship between breast cancer and healthy cells will provide new avenues for understanding how to target the tumour more effectively.

Ansel Lim, fourth year medical student from the Singapore Medical Hospital, said of his winning image:

“The red-and-green cell [M2 macrophage] sits smack in the middle of this colourfully stained slide, floating aimlessly around islands of cancer in an ocean of a thousand defending immune cells. It sits at the crossroads of an epic battle, one between alien cancer cells and an entire battalion of immune cells fighting off these intruders. This soldier is a Trojan Horse.

“It should have been fighting the enemy, but instead it has been hijacked. Manipulated by a complex network of signals, the cell now works for the enemy. It promotes the growth of the cancer as it invades other parts of our body. But its attempt at subverting our body is no longer a secret. We can see the cell in plain sight. It can hide no longer from our microscopes.”

People's Choice award

The public has also spoken, and after the People’s Choice award, which ran on Breast Cancer Now’s social media platforms, we are thrilled to say that the image 'Neoplastic Petals', entered by Dr Sarah Boyle of the Centre for Cancer Biology in Adelaide, Australia, grabbed the attention of our supporters.

This striking image shows the early stages of cancer within a mammary gland of a genetically-engineered mouse. The green colour labels a protein that is involved in controlling cell movement. As the tumour grows, cells start to become more mobile, which can lead to cancer spreading. Junctions between cells are labelled in blue and cell nuclei in red.

Image of the early stages of cancer within a mammary gland of a genetically-engineered mouse.

All images have been released under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), so can be shared freely, while attributing the image author.