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Published On May 3, 2014


From MRI to Bronze Sculpture

Artists use medical scans of tumors to make stunning, informative sculptures

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TUMORS BECOME ART in sculptures created by a husband-and-wife team. When Leonor Caraballo was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was told she had an “aggressive but small” tumor. Post-removal, Caraballo couldn’t shake the desire to know the size and shape of the object that had threatened her life. She and her husband, Abou Farman, developed a process to replicate tumors with manipulated MRIs and a 3-D printer. Their art inspired Caraballo’s surgeon, Alexander Swistel at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College, to rethink breast cancer staging, which considers a tumor’s width at its widest point, not its volume. Swistel is starting clinical trials to see if three-dimensional, volumetric measurements of tumors would affect oncologists’ chemotherapy recommendations.