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David Gregory-Kumar

David Gregory-Kumar Science & Environment correspondent, BBC News

From laboratories to landfills, the science and environment stories that affect you

Chemists create new way to fight drug-resistant cancer

1 April 2014
University of Warwick chemists are hoping ZL105 will provide a new cancer treatment

Chemists at the University of Warwick have created a cancer drug that kills tumours in an entirely new way.

They hope it could one day help patients who have developed an immunity to a common chemotherapy drug called Cisplatin.

Cisplatin was actually discovered by accident. In the late 1960's Dr. Barnett Rosenberg at Michigan State University was experimenting on bacteria with electricity.

He was surprised to see the bacteria in his petri dish starting to die. More research showed that the platinum electrodes he was using to pass the electrical current had created a chemical that killed the bacteria. A chemical he realised could be used as a cancer treatment, Cisplatin.

DNA kink

It works by introducing a kink into the DNA inside the cancer sells which the cell doesn't recognise and so it self-destructs. Healthy cells on the other hand are better able to repair the kink and so are mostly unaffected.

University of Warwick chemists' lab
Chemists are looking for new drugs to stop cancer

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Looking for life on planets outside our solar system

14 March 2014
Dr Don Pollacco
Dr Don Pollacco who is leading the Plato Science Consortium, said it might sound like Star Trek, but finding habitable planets is "real" possibility.

The University of Warwick is taking the scientific lead in a mission to build a one billion euro planet-hunting, space telescope.

It's an extremely exciting project and you can read more about it here.

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Would you eat goat sausage or cook a Sunday goat-roast?

18 February 2014
David Gregory-Kumar and the goat sausages, supplied to a Michelin-starred restaurant.
David Gregory-Kumar and the goat sausages, supplied to a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Journalists will eat anything but even my colleagues paused slightly before trying my goat sausages. But after a slightly suspicious start they disappeared rapidly and were declared a deliciously meaty hit.

The sausages were provided by one of just sixteen commercial goat-meat farms in the UK. Ruth and Anthony Key farm goats in Stone in Staffordshire and they are in the middle of their first major kidding.

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Learning from 16 years of reporting on Midlands' floods

11 February 2014
Dr David Gregory-Kumar in 2000
The "party atmosphere" in the local pub quickly changed as the reality dawned

Here's a blast from the past, a picture of me on flood reporting duty in 2000 in Bewdley.

It was all very new and at least initially quite exciting for those not directly affected.

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David added analysis to:

Worcestershire river levels due to rise until Tuesday

10 February 2014

In the Midlands river levels are approaching or even beating records we last saw back in the floods of 2007.

But the big difference between what is happening now and what happened then is that about 1,300 properties are currently dry thanks to flood defences installed since 2007.

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A revolutionary new way to store blood for transfusions

7 February 2014
Blood test tube in ice
Ice crystals in the blood thaw in such a way that they violently tear the blood cells apart

Storing blood is vital but actually quite tricky.

When you donate blood it can be kept refrigerated for up to 42 days until it passes its use-by date.

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Extracting energy from underground in the Midlands

24 January 2014
People demonstrating against Cuadrilla's fracking operations
Fracking is controversial and has attracted a lot of local opposition

I'm standing in for Patrick Burns this week on Sunday Politics in the West Midlands.

It's fracking that gets all the attention of course but there are in fact a whole new raft of technologies looking to extract energy from hard to reach places under the ground. This week on the Sunday Politics we'll be looking at some of these new ideas and what impact they might have for bad and good on the Midlands.

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The invention that revolutionised amateur astronomy

7 January 2014
John Wall
Engineer and inventor John Wall, inventor of the Crayford Focuser

Stargazing Live is back and as part of the Brian Cox-based excitement we're looking at one of the unsung heroes of amateur astronomy - an inventor who revolutionised telescope design.

In 1971 engineer John Wall, who now lives in Coventry, published a paper in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association. You can read his original paper complete with hand drawn diagrams here.

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Farming subsidies are not just for farmers these days

3 January 2014
Warwickshire amateur dramatic society
A Warwickshire amateur dramatic society bought scenery and even a laptop for lighting with CAP money

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is changing once again.

First of all, farmers are going to see subsidies cut, although the strength of the pound against the euro might slightly cushion the blow.

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David added analysis to:

Aston University scientists invent new rat trap

2 January 2014

Because there's no way to control how much poisoned bait a rat eats it is possible for some animals to develop a resistance over time.

Given the speed with which rats breed, that resistance can quickly be passed on to a new generation.

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About David

David grew up in the rolling hills of Hertfordshire roaming the fields and helping out on local farms.

He studied physics at the University of Liverpool and stayed on after graduating to try his hand at research. This would lead to his PhD looking at the behaviour of atomic layers of potassium on silicon.

While writing up his research he tried freelance reporting and discovered he really enjoyed it. So after picking up his PhD he began working for the BBC.

His work for the corporation has taken him all over the world and through tornados, earthquakes, floods and riots. His favourite story remains the discovery of a nuclear fuel rod in a Tamworth scrap yard.

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