Member of the public talking to a demonstrator about radiotherapy at Summer Science ExhibitionAs London experiences a heatwave, imaging scientists from King’s College London have been showing off a different kind of Hot Stuff. Scientists from the School of Imaging and Bioengineering spent last week talking radioactivity with visitors to the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition.

The team’s interactive stand explored how radioactivity can be used for medical good. They look at attaching radioactive particles to cancer cells, to help find cancer and to take pictures of tumours to see how well treatment is working. The technology can even treat cancer, by targeting radiation to cancer cells without affecting healthy tissue.

Child at Summer science exhibition

The stand was developed with input from our Patient and Public Involvement Advisory Group, and included BRC-funded researchers.

The King’s College London chemists, biologists, physicists and engineers spent the week running games and quizzes about their work. They challenged visitors to use Geiger counters to find small (and completely safe) amounts of radiation hidden in an organ on special custom-made aprons. There was a quiz for visitors to  guess how much radiation is present in every day items like bananas and rubber ducks.

The scientists from the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Science were on hand the entire week to talk to people about their thoughts on radiation, and to answer questions about their research.

You can find out more about the team’s work in this video:

Family and demonstrator at Summer Science Exhibition

Samantha Terry, who is carrying out the research said: ‘Our technique provides us with a window in to the body so we can see, in detail, where cancer cells are located and how much they have developed. The red areas show us that more cancer is present, and the blue areas illustrate that less disease is in this region. This allows us to target treatment to the correct areas more specifically.’

The Summer Science Exhibition is a free festival exploring the science that will shape our future. It is held every year at the Royal Society’s headquarters at Carlton House Terrace.