Finding Genius Podcast

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Disarming Cancer Cells with the Safest Drugs Possible—Robin Bannister, Ph.D.—Care Oncology Clinic

“My reason for wanting to start the company was a very simple one actually, and a very personal one: my wife had cancer, she had breast cancer…misdiagnosed and then finally correctly diagnosed in 2005. She became metastatic in 2010,” says Robin Bannister, Founder and Director of Research and Development at Care Oncology Clinic.

Dr. Bannister had spent his entire professional life studying different pharmaceuticals and trying to understand the ways in which old drugs could be repurposed, but now there was a new level of urgency to his work. He knew he had to act quickly. To find the drug he was looking for, he first had to reduce the list of 5,000 or so drugs to a list that was more manageable, and he did this by focusing on those that had a long history of safe use and mild side effects, particularly in cancer patients.

The basis of the treatment provided at Care Oncology Clinic takes advantage of the Warburg effect—the metabolic processes used by cancer cells to stay alive and grow. The Care Oncology protocol employs drugs which, simply put, make it exceedingly difficult for cancer cells to survive by limiting the resources they use in order to defend themselves in harsh environments—environments created not only by the standard of care for cancer, but also the body’s own immune system. By tuning in to today’s episode, you will learn the details of this and more, including:

  • What an efflux pump is and how exactly it’s used by cancer cells
  • Why the standard of care is not perfect, but often has a part to play in the treatment of cancer
  • How the Care Oncology protocol can serve as an adjunct to the treatment for all cancer types

Locate the Care Oncology USA website at https://careoncology.com/.

More Episodes

2/25/2020

Exploring Loops in the Human Genome: Dr. Erez Lieberman Aiden

Dr. Aiden works on analyzing the bending of our human genome, a 3-D complex arrangement that, in part, regulates our cells.This conversation exploreshow each chromatid forms unique loops and bends while patterns emerge across similar cell types,the mechanism that forms these loops—a protein complex that works almost like a lariat knot of a lasso, andwhy a better understanding of this molecular genetics architecture is important for medical treatments.Dr. Erez Lieberman Aiden is an assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. Over the course of the podcast, he describes how this architectural feat of our cells' genome is formed and the accompanying implications of the nature of this formation.As he explains the complexity of molecular genetics, he begins with a description of how this two-meter-long DNA strand fits inside each of our nuclei. Further, because the sequencing of the human genome is such a recent scientific accomplishment, our understanding of these bending twists and loops is growing almost daily.He explains that this intricate packing of the human genome is not just a storage mechanism. Rather, as is the case with proteins, shape is essential to function—these physical loops form and bring enhancer elements in relation to a significant gene, for example. He adds that typically loops bring promoters of genes in contact with other elements in the genome to exchange information. All this gives rise to genetic regulation, which includes turning genes on and off.Dr. Aiden also explains the practicalities of how these molecular genetics studies are accomplished, such as what microscopy enables them to see. Finally, he discusses some of the implications of this research: scientists ask why we have the same genome in the brain and the heart yet the cells do different jobs. It's clear the gene changes how it folds in different organ systems and that fold changes how each cell functions.For more, see his lab page at https://www.aidenlab.org/ , which includes links to all the data from their research, and a recent article he published in Scientific American that explores aspects of these themes: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/human-genome-3-d/.
2/24/2020

Working to Better Understand the Genetics of Endocrine Tumors—Dr. Lawrence Kirschner—Clinical Endocrinologist and Scientist

Dr.LawrenceKirschner has over 20 years’ worth of experience as a physician-scientist and clinical endocrinologist, which has allowed him to see directly how research impacts patients on an individual level. On today’s podcast, he shares the details of his work. Tune in to learn the following:What types ofadrenaltumorsand diseases exist and how they manifest in patientsWhy an understanding of the genetics of endocrine tumors is important in order to understand how cancers develop and/or how tumors produce excess hormonesWhy it’s been difficult to conduct clinical trials involving adrenal cancers, and what’s been happening on a national scale in recent years to address thisDr. Kirschner’s sub-specialty is on diseases of thepituitarygland, with particular emphasis on the adrenal glands. Only about one in one million people will eventually develop malignant adrenaltumors, but it’s an aggressive and difficult-to-treat type of cancer. In part, the absence of a good treatment approach for adrenal cancer is due to the fact that it’s so rare, because this makes it difficult to conduct clinical trials. In recent years, however, a national collaborative effort to address this has been set in motion, which Dr. Kirschner sees as very promising for those who currently suffer from adrenal cancer or those who will in the future.He discusses the details of his research, which aims to develop a better understanding of the genetics of endocrine tumors in order to determine how these genes function, and what particularly allows them to cause cell proliferation and/or the excess production of hormones. He talks about the many types of tumors and disease that can affect the adrenals, and the ways in which they can wreak havoc on the body. He dives into the science behind what his research has already discovered and where it’s headed in the near future. Tune in for all the details. For general information about ongoing clinical trials, visitclinicaltrials.gov.
2/24/2020

On the Latest in Single-Molecule Research—Markita Landry, PhD—University of California, Berkeley, College of Chemistry

Assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UC Berkeley,MarkitaLandry, joins the podcast to discuss her latest research on nanoparticles andsingle molecule fluorescence methods. She explains the following:How nanoparticles can be used as DNA, RNA, or protein-delivery vessels in a way that confers important advantages to cropsWhat is fluorescence, why it’s useful, and why some materials are naturally fluorescentWhat dopamine imaging studies using nanoscale probes have revealed about the way individual neurons respond to a certain psychoactive drugIn Dr. Landry’s lab, she and her team are researching the uses and advantages of being able to control molecules that are on the scale of the building blocks of life—single nanoparticles the size of a single molecule of water.She discusses the two primary focuses of her research, the first of which uses nanoparticles to deliver DNA, RNA, and protein into plants to improve their ability to resist pathogens and drought conditions. She explains that the technology they’ve created is different than conventional approaches which genetically modify plants, and as a result, the plants they alter will not be subject to lengthy and strict regulatory processes. In turn, this means that they will be easier to bring to market.The second focus of her lab involves chemically altering nanoparticles in a way that will make them responsive to dopamine, an important signaling molecule in the brain that is a target for antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. Dr. Landry and her team have created probes that fluorescently image dopamine in healthy and diseased brains, and this has led to surprising findings about the way in which individual neurons respond to certain substances.Tune in for the full conversation and visithttp://landrylab.com/to learn more.