Dana-Farber launches new podcast series, Unraveled

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Six-episode season explores the stories behind some of the most important cancer research

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is launching a new podcast series, titled Unraveled, to explain the science behind some of the most important breakthroughs in cancer research.

The six-episode season premieres August 9th with “A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing.” The first episode tells the story behind the discovery of PD-L1, which helped launch a new era of cancer immunotherapy. In this episode, the series host, veteran journalist Ken Shulman, talks with Gordon Freeman, PhD, a researcher at Dana-Farber, whose research formed a foundation for the immune checkpoint blockade immunotherapies used today, and a lung cancer patient, Barry Nelson, whose life was saved by one of the first such drugs.

Subsequent episodes explore the promise and intricacies of epigenetics, the mindset of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine recipient, mentorship, the challenges of cancer care during the pandemic, and how scientists turned science fiction into fact with CAR-T cell therapy.

In Episode 5, Judy Wilkins, an early beneficiary of CAR-T cell treatment, says: “The best way I describe it to my [hairdressing] clients is that they put a Pac-Man in my body, and the Pac-Man would go through and [it] would see a cancer cell and just eat that cancer cell instead of going through my body and destroying all my good cells.”

Beyond the science, Unraveled tells stories of Dana-Farber scientists, such as Nobel Prize Laureate William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD.

“I always tell young people… that the real prize was participating in the discovery and seeing the result and understanding something that had never been understood before. And just marveling at the beauty of the mechanism that nature had arrived upon,” Kaelin says in Episode 2.

“We want to tell some of the most important stories in cancer research,” said Steven Singer, Chief Communications Officer at Dana-Farber, “but also provide a sense of how science is conducted, and to capture a bit of the excitement of discovery.”

The trailer for Season Two is available, along with the latest episodes, at www.dana-farber.org/health-library/unraveled, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other major podcast platforms.

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