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  • Unraveled is a podcast produced by Dana-Farber that explores the mysteries of the science of cancer. Veteran broadcaster Ken Shulman digs into the cutting-edge science that is transforming cancer research and providing hope for scientists and cancer patients.


    Episode 1: The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    The parable of the wolf in sheep's clothing reminds us that things aren't always as they seem: bad guys can dress up as good guys to do their bad guy things. There's a wolf in sheep's clothing story in cancer research, complete with a crafty predator, a clever disguise, and a visionary team of researchers who found a way to nab the wolf.

    Episode 2: Behind the Science of the 2019 Nobel Prize

    It's hard to overstate how important oxygen is to life on earth. Almost every living thing on the planet needs oxygen to convert fuel into energy. We can't survive without it, not even for a handful of minutes. Fortunately, our bodies know this, and have developed several rapid response systems to keep us going when oxygen runs low.

    A few cancers have found a bug in the system: a way to sound a false alarm and make the body think it's low on oxygen when it's not. These cancers hijack the body's response to feed hungry tumors. It's a complicated and fascinating process, and it earned one Dana-Farber doctor the biggest prize of all.

    Episode 3: A Culture of Mentorship

    What do cancer researchers and 15th century Florentine masters have in common? For one, a culture of mentorship. Both come of age in a culture where knowledge is transmitted from master to pupil. In this episode, we take a closer look at that culture and the crucial role mentorship plays at Dana-Farber, with Nobel laureate Dr. William Kaelin.

    Episode 4: The Blueprints of Your Cells

    There are approximately 20,000 genes in the human genome. 20,000 packets that house the blueprints for every human cell. And every cell contains a complete copy of that genome. It's an incredible feat of bioengineering. But here's the question: If every human cell contains every single human gene, how does the cell know what to do? What process determines whether the cell becomes a pancreas or a patella? And what happens if that process falters - if the right gene is selected but is cast in the wrong role?

    Episode 5: Turning Science Fiction into Fact

    It's always fun to think about the future. Flying cars. Cities in the clouds. Colonies on Venus and Mars. OK, we didn't end up living like the Jetsons. But a few of those visions did come true. And Judy Wilkins knows that first-hand. Wilkins is a former patient at Dana-Farber and is the poster child for a bold new therapy where science fiction becomes science fact.

    Episode 6: Dana-Farber in the Time of COVID

    A beauty… that in some cases becomes tragic. It's not the way most people would describe a virus. In the simplest of terms, a virus is a snippet of genetic code. It can't reproduce on its own. In order to replicate, it needs to infect and hijack a living cell.

    Scientists can't even agree on whether viruses are alive or dead. What they do know is that every so often, one of them goes, well, viral. And when it does, it can bring everything to a skidding halt.

    Well, almost everything. One thing the COVID-19 pandemic didn't stop was cancer. And that meant that everyone at Dana-Farber had to find a way to keep on working and find a way to keep themselves and their patients safe.

  • Cellular Therapies
  • Research
  • Immunotherapy