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Environmental Factor

Environmental Factor

Your Online Source for NIEHS News

December 2023

ICYMI: Distinguished Lecturer shares trick of protecting bone marrow

Former NCI Director Norman Sharpless, M.D., discussed therapy advances and what it will take to cut the cancer death rate in half by 2047.

Norman Sharpless, M.D.
As part of the NIEHS Distinguished Lecture Series, Sharpless explained the effects of modulating the cell cycle to manage DNA damage and aging. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw / NIEHS)

NIEHS Distinguished Lecturer Norman Sharpless, M.D., recently explained his team’s efforts to revert the DNA-damaging effects of chemotherapy so that patients receive the cancer-killing benefits with fewer side effects, such as fatigue and bleeding resulting from damage to bone marrow cells. Sharpless, who directed the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 2017-2022, is a University of North Carolina School of Medicine professor and co-CEO and founder of Jupiter BioVentures.

During his Nov. 14 lecture, Sharpless described how a drug, which was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, protects normal bone marrow cells and improves survival among patients undergoing chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer. To reduce deaths due to cancer overall, he discussed the importance of identifying and removing environmental exposures and treating obesity to reduce the prevalence of colon, liver, and uterine cancer.

Check out the video below to learn more about his team’s approach to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy, and the most important decision that a cell must make every day.

(Caroline Stetler is Editor-in-Chief of the Environmental Factor, produced monthly by the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)

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