Unraveled is Dana-Farber’s science podcast 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 for cancer patients.


October 4, 2021 30 min

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. So, 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 e...

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It’s always fun to think about the future. Flying cars. Cities in the clouds. Colonies on Venus and Mars. Ok. So 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 she’s the poster child for a bold new therapy where science fiction becomes science fact.

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September 6, 2021 31 min

There are approximately 20,000 genes in the human genome. 20,000 packets that house the blueprints for every human cell. And every human cell contains a complete copy of that genome. It’s an incredible feat of bio-engineering. 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 it becomes a pancreas or a patella? And what happens if that p...

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August 23, 2021 31 min

What do cancer researchers and 15th century Florentine masters have in common? Well 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, and with Nobel laureate, William Kaelin.

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The parable of the wolf in sheep’s clothing tale reminds us that things aren’t always as they seem, that bad guys can dress up as good guys to do their bad guy things. And 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 finally found a way to nab the wolf. 

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It’s hard to overstate just how important oxygen is to life on earth. Almost every living thing on the planet needs it to convert fuel into energy. We can’t survive without it. Not even for a handful of minutes. Fortunately, our bodies know this. And they’ve developed several (easier to say) 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 m...

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July 7, 2021 2 min

The complex science of cancer is unraveled in this six-episode series featuring the science behind the 2019 Nobel prize; the disguises cancer cells take on to evade the immune system; turning science fiction into fact with cell therapy; the links between COVID-19 and cancer research and more.

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