Novartis recently unveiled a mural and sculpture exhibition in London to raise awareness and educate the public about myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a group of rare blood cancers.
Five mural artists designed 10 sculptures, which are on display at Westfield London, that highlight the 10 main symptoms of MPNs, the company announced last week. Sculptures dubbed “Weight Loss Wendy” and “Night Sweats Nick” each portray a specific symptom, teaching viewers how MPNs may manifest in the human body.
The installation is interactive, allowing people to interact with the 10 “characters” through augmented reality.
The exhibition was created in partnership with the nonprofit MPN Voice. Alisia O’Sullivan, a member of the organization, noted that the rare cancers are often difficult to diagnose as “symptoms go under the radar and get confused with aging or other conditions.”
“[I]f someone is facing extreme fatigue or experiencing night sweats, they may put this down to the menopause, or their time of life,” O’Sullivan said in a statement. “More needs to be done to recognize and identify these symptoms early so that people living with the condition can seek help from medical professionals to better manage their symptoms, and those who are undiagnosed can seek a potential diagnosis sooner.”
There are three types of MPNs – myelofibrosis (MF), which is marked by scar tissue built up inside the bone marrow; essential thrombocythaemia (ET), which results in an overproduction of platelets in the blood and increases the risk of blood clots; as well as polycythaemia vera (PV), which leads to the overproduction of red blood cells.
Often referred to as the “MPN 10,” the defining symptoms of these three disorders include abdominal pain, inactivity, weight loss, fever, concentration problems, fatigue, bone pain, early satiety, itching and night sweats.
Empowering patients with knowledge of these diseases, including how to recognize the most common symptoms, is a key objective for Novartis through this initiative.
Marie-Andrée Gamache, country president at Novartis UK and Ireland, noted that the exhibition underscored the company’s “ongoing commitment to transforming the lives” of people living with blood cancers.
“[W]e’ve been able to use real experiences from those living with MPNs about the true impact these symptoms have on their quality of life,” she said. “We know art can be a powerful way to express feelings and draw attention to a cause, so we’re proud to have worked with five talented artists to portray the reality of these symptoms in such an attention-grabbing way.”