Gentronix was contacted by the lead curator of the Cancer Revolution: Science, Innovation and Hope exhibition, who was looking to collaborate with specialists within the Genetic Toxicology field. As she was particularly interested in featuring the Bacterial Reverse Mutation Test, we as scientists within the Ames team were delighted to meet with her (via Teams, the new normal) and discuss ways in which we could help. We considered everything from the target audience, how we could make our contribution as interactive and informative as possible and how we would make it visually appealing. It was a little challenging deciding how to create a visual representation without the use of hazardous materials, however we were able to overcome this and supply a collection of consumables and create replica plates using photographs taken in the laboratory.

The Ames Test, following the OECD 471 guideline, is a bacterial reverse mutation assay which investigates the ability of test substances to cause specific mutations in certain bacterial strains. It is used to detect DNA reactive mutagens which could have the potential to cause cancer, so the results are taken very seriously when assessing safety. At Gentronix we run both non-GLP and GLP versions of the Ames Test in various formats for screening and regulatory testing purposes.

We attended the exhibition launch in October 2021 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. During the evening we heard emotive, personal accounts from local Coronation Street stars Maureen Lipman and Victoria Ekanoye who shared their family experiences and explained the positivity they got from seeing how treatments have advanced. The popular broadcaster and Patron of Bowel Cancer UK, Deborah James, also shared a poignant video message in which she detailed some of the revolutionary medicines, clinical trials, and treatments that she credits to keeping her alive. This very much captured the spirit of the exhibition, displaying the milestones that have already been achieved in cancer care, through to the novel research currently taking place, leaving visitors with a feeling of hopefulness with the progress being made.

Following the reception and speeches we were fortunate enough to take a first look at the exhibition. We found that it incorporated some highly technical scientific methods and concepts, but the way that they were presented in bite size pieces, along with interactive elements and personal accounts, broke down its complexity. This makes it an interesting and educational visit for a wide range of people, regardless of scientific background. The exhibition gives everybody something to relate to and although there are hard-hitting elements it really does explore the Cancer Revolution, and we are proud to have been able to contribute towards its success.