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Dr Martin Barr lights up Times Square New York April 25th - 27th 2014

Dr Martin Barr, Clinical Scientist, will light up Times Square New York at a special event between 25th – 27th April 2014 with his striking image of a lung cancer cell surrounded by a green glow. Dr Barr’s image which was taken as part of his ongoing research to better understand and fight resistance to lung cancer treatments shows in extraordinary detail a lung cancer cell from one of the most common forms of lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The cell measures just one thousandth of a millimetre, similar in width to a cotton fibre, and is shown in a low-oxygen environment known as ‘hypoxia’. This environment, commonly seen in many solid tumours, makes cancer cells more resistant to chemotherapy and encourages the cancer to spread in the majority of patients. The aim of Dr Barr’s research is to target cellular processes triggered by hypoxia in order to make tumours more susceptible to chemotherapy.

Speaking about what being a winner of this competition means to him and for cancer awareness, Dr Barr said: “As a winner of the GE Healthcare 2013 Cell Imaging Competition, I am absolutely delighted to have one of my images recognised as a prize-winning image by an expert international panel of judges and a public vote of over 23,000 votes. Lung cancer mortality remains significantly high worldwide and in Ireland continues to increase, particularly in women. While novel strategies to target the various cellular processes implicated in resistance to current therapies unfold, a visual image of a cell can have more of an impact and in some instances speak more loudly than words, and highlights the cellular complexity of a cancer cell.”

“To see my winning image displayed on the large high-definition screens in Times Square in New York is a unique, once-in-a-life time opportunity and something I would never have imagined in my career as a cancer research scientist. The projection of my image in this major international hot-spot will hopefully bring further awareness of lung cancer to the general public.”

M Barr NSCLC Image

Photograph: Dr Martin Barr's up-close image of a lung cancer cell