Episode 2: Can we protect ourselves from cancer causing chemicals?

In this episode

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020. Figures suggest 1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime. Despite these statistics, there are measures we can take to protect ourselves by reducing exposure to carcinogenic chemicals which cause DNA mutations.

In this reassuring and fascinating episode, Professor Gareth Jenkins, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Swansea University, and a leading global expert in this field, discusses how DNA can be mutated and how these mutations cause cancer. Gareth reveals how the chemicals around us, our lifestyle choices and our habits can increase or decrease the likelihood of our DNA mutating and developing into cancer. We also learn of the huge advancements in cancer diagnostic technologies such as liquid biopsies and the identification of biomarkers which flag pre-cancerous conditions. Discover how Gareth's research is pushing innovation to enable the early detection of cancer – the Holy Grail in cancer research for better patient outcomes.

About our expert

Professor Gareth Jenkins is Professor of Molecular Carcinogenesis at Swansea University’s Medical School and is an expert in DNA mutation research.

He works mainly in the “Genetic Toxicology” field studying hazards and risks posed by exposure to new products (drugs, foodstuffs, chemicals, nanomaterials etc). His research group at Swansea investigates the mechanisms underlying DNA mutagenesis and carcinogenesis and has designed new cell-based testing approaches for mutagenic agents to reduce the numbers of animals used in safety testing. For 20 years Gareth has also researched the Barrett’s oesophagus/oesophageal adenocarcinoma model to better understand the initiation of cancer and the role of blood cell mutations as biomarkers of disease.

Professor Jenkins is the Chair of the UK Government’s Committee on Mutagenicity (COM) and sat on COM as a member from 2009 till 2019. He is a Senior Editor for the journal “Mutagenesis” and President of the UK Environmental Mutagen Society (UKEMS) and the International Association of Environmental and Genomics Societies (IAEMGS). Gareth is also the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Health and Life Science at Swansea University.

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