Cancer Biology // Oil&Gas Health Impacts

Today’s show offers two feature interviews:
Adaptive Oncogenesis-978-0-674-98596-4-frontcoverNew Theory of How Cancer Evolves Inside Us (start time: 0:58): It is commonly known that cancer afflicts old people more than youth. Conventional wisdom has held we get cancer with age largely because we accumulate lots of genetic mutations over many years, and it’s the mutations that cause cancer. Our guest, Dr. James DeGregori,  deputy director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, discusses with host Susan Moran his new theory–one that challenges conventional wisdom–about why and how we get cancer. In his new book, called Adaptive Oncogenesis: A New Understanding of How Cancer Evolves Inside Us, DeGregori argues that cancer is as much a disease of evolution as it is of mutation. Mutated cells outcompete healthy ones in the ecosystem of the body’s tissues. Dr. DeGregori is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton, Colo. Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton. Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

Studying Health Impacts of Oil&Gas Wells (start time: 12:54) Many people living all along the Front Range are familiar with the sights and smells of oil rigs operating in fields near their homes and schools.  State regulators argue  that this convergence of people and oil rigs is safe. But many nearby residents and scientists are concerned about the potential health impacts of these drilling operations so close to residential neighborhoods and schools. Our guest, Dr. Lisa McKenzie, is the lead author on a new study that adds some critical evidence to back concerns of residents. It found that for people living within 500 feet of a well, the risk of their getting cancer over the course of their lifetime is eight times higher than the upper acceptable levels established by the federal EPA. Dr. McKenzie is an assistant research professor at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anshutz Campus. She discusses the study and its implications with hosts Daniel Glick and Susan Moran. (Here is our interview with Dr. McKenzie a year ago about a related study.)

Hosts: Daniel Glick, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Keto for Cancer, part 2

KetoForCancerThis week on How on Earth, Beth finishes the interview with Miriam Kalamian, author of Keto for Cancer. This encyclopedic volume lays out the groundwork for using a ketogenic diet to treat cancer. But, as the author points out, the diet, which starves cancer cells, should be used in conjunction with other therapies. To see the book, go to https://www.chelseagreen.com/keto-for-cancer; to see Miriam’s website go to https://www.dietarytherapies.com/

Hosts: Beth Bennett & Chip Grandits
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Additional contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Ketogenic Diet for Treatment of Cancer//BBC Science in Action

KetoForCancerThis week on How on Earth, we started speaking with Miriam Kalamian, author of the newly released Keto for Cancer. The interview starts at 11′ 30″, but unfortunately we lost the connection after only 5 minutes. You can link to her book at http://www.chelseagreen.com/keto-for-cancer and we will have her back to hear the full story! For the remainder of the show we linked to the BBC Science in Action segment on building proteins from novel DNA sequences.

Hosts: Beth Bennett and Chip Grandis
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Treating Cancer Metabolically

KetonesIn their upcoming book, A Metabolic Approach to Cancer, authors Dr Nasha Winters and Jess Kelley, describe new developments in individualized therapies for cancer, based on nutrition and personalized genetic analysis. Almost 100 years ago it was found that cancer cells rely almost exclusively on burning glucose for their growth. In the last 10 years, it was found that limiting glucose (and other carbs) in the diet can curb the growth of cancer and mitigate some of the problems associated with conventional therapies like chemo. The authors expand on this theme and also apply an encyclopedic wealth of nutritional data and research to various physiological systems that can prevent or reduce cancer’s impact.

Hosts: Beth Bennett and Susan Moran
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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A New Theory of Cancer

A cancer cell in the breast

A cancer cell in the breast

This week on How on Earth Beth interviews Travis Christofferson, author of Tripping over the Truth, in which he explores the history, and the human story that has led to the resurgence of Otto Warburg’s original metabolic theory first proposed in 1924. Despite incredible biomedical advances, the death rate today is the same as it was in 1950. The metabolic theory offers an answer and alternative therapies. Find out more about Christofferson’s book at http://www.chelseagreen.com/tripping-over-the-truth

Hosts: Beth Bennett and Joel Parker
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Health Impacts of Oil/Gas Drilling

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton, Colo. Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton, Colo.
Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

Drilling’s Health Impacts (start time: 7:50): A pressing question on the minds of many Colorado residents, health experts, and others amidst a surge of oil and gas activity is this: Does living near an oil and gas well harm your health? A scientist at the forefront of exploring such questions is Dr. Lisa McKenzie, a professor of environmental epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz. She is the lead author on a recently published study that examines the potential impact of nearby oil and gas drilling on childhood cancer rates. The study’s important findings were challenged by the state Health Department, whose recent assessment concludes that nearby oil and gas operations poses minimal risk to residents. Dr. McKenzie  talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about her study, and the complex science of risk, correlation and causation.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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How the Glucocorticoid Receptor can Treat Asthma, Cancer, and More

What the mysterious acronym means

What the mysterious acronym means

The Glucocorticoid Receptor (starts at 5:30): We interview Dr. Miles Pufall who studies the glucocorticoid receptor, a protein in cell membranes that is the target of drugs used to treat a variety of conditions from asthma to cancer. Binding cortisol causes the receptor to be moved to the nucleus where it turns on (or off) numerous genes. One of the big questions is how does each cell type ‘know’ which genes should be targeted?

Hosts: Beth Bennett, Joel Parker
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker, Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Antarctica Research // The Cancer Chronicles

We offer two features on the Tuesday, Oct. 22, show:

Lake Hoare, Antarcita / Photo: Beth Bartel 2004

The camp at Lake Hoare in Taylor valley, Antarctica. (Photo: Beth Bartel)

Feature 1 – Antarctica Research (start time 4:15): Diane McKnight, a professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, talks with How On Earth contributor Brian Calvert about scientific discoveries from Antarctica. During the temporary government shutdown the United States Antarctic Program, which facilitates government-funded scientific research in Antarctica, was unplugged. Several expeditions were cancelled. Her research on the McMurdo Dry Valleys on the continent will resume, but a future government shutdown would threaten scientific research on penguins, extreme microbes, climate change-induced sea ice melt and so many other subjects.

Feature 2 – The Cancer Chronicles (start time 12:22): In his new book, The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery , science writer George Johnson takes readers on his very personal quest to understand cancer on a cellular level: how it begins with one “renegade cell” that divides, mutates, and becomes a tumor. In the process Johnson also digs deep into history – per-history, in fact — to learn that not only our ancient human ancestors had cancer, but even some dinosaurs suffered from them. And the author dissects many scientific studies that debunk myths about the role environmental toxins play in cancer. And he challenges false beliefs that cancer in modern times is on the rise. “Yet running beneath the surface is a core rate of cancer, the legacy of being multicellular creatures in an imperfect world,” he writes. Johnson speaks via phone to host Susan Moran about the mysteries and discoveries of cancer.

And as we mentioned in today’s headlines, if you want to see the large fragment of the Chelyabinsk meteor being recovered from Lake Chebarkul, you can see the video here.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bartel

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Kepler’s Prospects // Oncofertility

For the August 20 How On Earth show we offer two features:

Kepler spacecraft

Kepler Spacecraft’s Uncertain Future: (start time 5:48) Are we alone in the cosmos? Are there other planets out there, and could some of them support life?  Or, is Earth somehow unique in its ability to support life?  The Kepler mission was designed to start addressing that question by searching for planets around other stars.  Since its launch in March 2009, the Kepler spacecraft has discovered many diverse candidate planets around other stars, but recently the spacecraft has run into some technical problems.  Dr. Steve Howell from NASA’s Ames Research Center talks with co-host Joel Parker about Kepler’s past, present and future.

Laxmi Kondapalli, courtesy of CU Cancer Center.

Cancer’s Impact on Fertility: (start time 14:52) It’s tough enough to receive a cancer diagnosis. For many patients, an added insult is that chemotherapy treatments can render them infertile.  However, there are many options for cancer patients who want to have children, or more children – both men and women. A key problem has been that many of them aren’t educated by oncologists about their fertility options and they jump right into drug treatments. Dr. Laxmi Kondapalli, an assistant professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Colorado Denver and head of the CU Cancer Center’s Oncofertility Program, talks with co-host Susan Moran about the medical science of take cancer therapies and the latest in fertility-preservation options.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Cancer Drug Delivery // Mars’ Radiation Risks

Enjoy the two features we offer today, June 4:

A “raft” artificially created in a liposome.
Photo courtesy Tom Anchordoquy

Feature #1 (start time 5:36):  Cancer drugs are much more targeted than they were many years ago.  But researchers are still trying to find a way to deliver drugs much more precisely to cancer cells, partly to avoid damaging, sometimes lethal, side effects. A huge obstacle has been getting nucleic acids to cross the membrane of cancer cells.  A new study has brought researchers closer to crossing this big hurdle.  Dr. Tom Anchordoquy, a lead author of the study, speaks with co-host Susan Moran about the study and what it means for cancer patients and researchers. Dr. Anchordoquy is an investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Denver and a professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

 

The Radiation Assessment Detector, or RAD, instrument (right) is one of 10 science instruments on the Mars Curiosity rover (depicted in the artist’s concept on the left). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI

Feature #2 (start time 15:02): Being an astronaut is a risky job, but perhaps one of the less-known risks is the high levels of radiation beyond the relatively protective cocoon of Earth’s magnetic field.  This will be a particularly important problem to address for long-duration deep-space flight such as going to Mars.  Until recently there have not been a lot of measurements available of the interplanetary radiation field for the types of radiation that could affect humans.  But on the Curiosity rover of the Mars Science Laboratory, there is a radiation detector designed to make those important measurements. The instrument team recently published their initial results.  Dr. Don Hassler, Science Program Director at Southwest Research Institute’s Boulder office and the Principal Investigator for the Radiation Assessment Detector on the Mars Curiosity rover, talks with co-host Joel Parker about the results.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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