Alivia Exploits the Artistic Anatomy of Cancer Cells


Clinical trials indicate that CAR-T cells therapy — an extremely effective branch of immunotherapy that can positively change the lives of cancer patients resistant to other forms of treatment — can cure up to 40% of such people. Unfortunately, this treatment method isn’t exactly cheap: It costs around $400,000 per sick person. As it is not always covered by insurance, many patients can’t afford to pay the price for this life-saving form of therapy.

The Alivia Oncology Foundation comes to the aid of such sufferers, helping them with this financial burden to hopefully cure themselves of cancer. Via a partnership with the Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology, Warsaw-based artist Paweł SWANSKI, and creative agency Ogilvy Poland, Alivia created a unique collection of artworks, aimed at supporting the treatment these patients’ lives depend on.

The “Buy My Cancer” campaign exploits the anatomy of cancer cells, Alivia artistically “modifying” their structure to make it work for the benefit of the patients. The project is the result of a merger between science, art, medicine, and technology and reaches the public by taking the shape of an NFT collection. “The first NFT series designed to directly fund cancer treatment,” as the organization refers to it on the platform created to support the cause, uses microscopic images of real living cancer cells and turns them into pieces of artwork that contribute to raising money for covering the costly treatments of rare types of the disease.

The images come from cancer patients, with the first person to have his cancer cells modeled into NFTs being Jakub Burnos, a student of the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lymphoma. To help him take this financial weight off his mind, artist SWANSKI joined the initiative and turned Jakub’s cancer cells into digital assets. The Polish artist combined the characteristic elements of the work he brings to life with the images of real living cancer cells, eventually turning the cells into potentially life-saving “devices.”

“We believe that this unique idea of ​​combining modern art, the latest achievements of modern medicine and science with NFT technology in the blockchain system will allow us to obtain funds for the treatment of such patients,” explains Agata Polińska, Vice-President at Alivia Cancer Foundation. “The ‘Buy My Cancer’ will become an exceptionally desirable collection because it combines the art of life and the art of hope with the currently emerging art-sci-tech trend,” the vice-president continues.

The collection dropped on VAST — the world’s first multimedia NFT marketplace — on June 9th and is available on OpenSea as well — with funds raised during this first drop being used to fund the CAR-T cell therapy. But this is only the first edition of the “Buy My Cancer” campaign as Alivia plans to pair more groups of cancer patients with artists and develop other NFT collections with the hope to save more lives. While the initiative kicked off with SWANSKI’s work, the Polish nonprofit wishes to continue this cycle of good via the #BuyMyCancerChallenge, during which medical experts and other artists will be nominated to select patients and turn their cells into NFTs.

Supervising the project are Prof. Jacek Jassem, M.D., Ph.D. and Prof. Sebastian Giebel, M.D., Ph.D. and sees the support of crypto fundraising platform The Giving Block and international law companies Wolf Thesis and Bird & Bird. The funds raised from the sale of these NFTs will go to the Alivia Foundation, which will help cover treatment costs for patients battling rare forms of cancer.


Client: Alivia Oncology Foundation

Agency: Ogilvy Poland

Artist: Paweł SWANSKI

Partners: The Giving Block // Wolf Thesis // Bird & Bird