What makes up a tumour?

Royal Society Image


Cancer is complicated.  

From looking inside tumours, we can see that they are not merely balls of cancer cells. Tumour cells are surrounded by immune cells and cells called fibroblasts, which support and hold different cells together by making connective tissue. These and many other components make up the tumour landscape or ‘microenvironment’ and can change how tumours grow or respond to treatment.  

Exploring Cancer Landscapes

Every patient's tumour is unique, and different kinds of cancer contain different mixtures of components.  It is only by understanding the individual landscape of each tumour that we can provide the best treatment to help more people survive cancer.  

Explore a tumour landscape in 3D

Here at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, we have teams of scientists using cutting-edge techniques to explore cancer landscapes in order to understand that complexity and expose new ways to treat cancer.  To help you understand more about our work, we've created a digital experience where you can find out what makes up a tumour, and see how different patients might respond differently to treatment. 

What makes up a tumour - escape room puzzles

We created three puzzles based on three different aspects of a tumour - working from the edge of the tumour through to the centre.  The answer to each puzzle is a word or words that make up a different component of the tumour.  If you would like to have a go, the links to the three puzzles are here:

Once you've had a go at solving them (or if you joined us in our online Zoom room on Saturday the 10th July) then you can click here to see the answers.

Build a cardboard tumour

Click here for instructions on building your very own tumour model!  Try and get the helpful T cells inside!  Are those pesky fibroblasts getting in the way?

Cardboard Tumour Model

Dr Joanna Kelly - Mapping Tumours #LightningLecture


To see more of the content from our team, and everything else that is happening across the Royal Society Summer Science 2021, head to the hub

Support and Sponsors

We are grateful to a number of people and organisations who helped us create and shape this digital content.

British Society for Immunology  peak.aiStorythingsMedical Research Council