WPP and ASCO capture first sound of cancer cells being destroyed


WPP and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s leading professional organisation for physicians and oncology professionals, have teamed up to unveil the first-ever audible sound of cancer cells being destroyed using pioneering technology.

Today, one in three people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. In order to support patients during their treatment journey, Grey Health & Wellness came up with the concept of giving people receiving treatment for cancer more of an understanding of how their medication or chemotherapy can directly impact cancerous cells.

Cancer cells sound

The team then worked with researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital to isolate the sound of breast and lung cancer cells at the precise moment of cellular death.

‘The Most Beautiful Sound’ is the resulting creative and scientific partnership led by Health@WPP, WPP’s community of agencies serving clients across the healthcare sector.

The sound was shared for the first time at the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting, where conference attendees were able to experience the sound via an immersive listening station and watch a video produced by Hogarth showing the reactions of patients with cancer.

As the principal investigator of the research study, Conor Evans, PhD, oversaw the experiment in his lab.

The study was conducted using a stimulated Raman scattering microscopy to measure the exact movements of cancer cells as they die, which were then transcribed into audible sounds.

Dr. Conor Evans, Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, said: “Like all cells, there is an inherent motion and vibration within cancer cells.

“What is truly exciting about this idea is the ability to give something invisible real perspective that could be truly powerful for patients as they go through their cancer journey.”

Kristen Neese, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at ASCO, said: “We are excited to unveil ‘The Most Beautiful Sound’, a powerful and artistic representation of cancer cells being destroyed in the body.

“‘The Most Beautiful Sound’ can be understood in any language and experienced across geographies and cultures.

“It can inspire hope and resilience among people living with cancer and their caregivers, uniting us in our quest to conquer cancer.”

Wendy Lund, Chief Client Officer of Health at WPP, added: “Tangible milestones or progress on a patient’s cancer journey can sometimes be hard to visualise.

“We wanted patients to experience how impactful their treatment can be and this creative approach, based in research, is groundbreaking in its ability to help inspire and motivate patients, cancer survivors and caregivers.”

ASCO and the Health@WPP community (of which BCW, CMI Media, GCI Health, Grey Health & Wellness, Hogarth, Ogilvy Health, TANK Worldwide, VMLY&R Health and Wunderman Thompson Health were involved) have made the overall experience and sound available to all healthcare professionals, caregivers, patients, and others who want to use or study the audio as an element of cancer care and coping interventions.