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Play now 28 mins

27/11/2009

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 27 November 2009

A "VACCINE" FOR CANCER
Treating cancer tumours often involves complicated and costly surgical operations, but new research has opened the way for a possible therapeutic vaccine that can destroy large tumours in mice. Small bioengineered plastic disks, which are designed to prevent cancer growth were implanted under the skin of mice. These discs then redirected the immune system to recognize and attack cancerous cells, even destroying large tumours. Jon Stewart speaks to David Mooney from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard who led the team behind the work.

ORIGIN OF SPECIES
It was a hundred and fifty years ago the John Murray, a publisher in London, first produced a book that was to revolutionise science thinking; Darwin's "On the Origin of Species". Geoff Watts has been to the John Murray Publishing House in London to speak to direct descendants of both Murray and Darwin. He finds out why Darwin chose this particular publishing company to promote his book.

A ROAD TOO FAR
The Brazilian government is seeking to repave BR-319 route between Porto Velho and Manaus. But the plan is controversial because the 900km road cuts right through the Amazon rainforest. The road has been inaccessible for most vehicles since 1988, and not everyone is keen for the road to be reopened, particularly conservationists who are worried the repaving will mean many species – both animals and plants - will be lost forever. Eric Camara from the BBC Brazilian Service has travelled the length of the road to find out what the people who will be affected by any change really think.

HORIZON SCANNING
Habitat loss that has happened in the Amazon is a known threat to biodiversity, but what about other potential threats? Jon Stewart speaks to Professor William Sutherland who's research has just been published in the journal "TREE – Trends in Ecology and Evolution". He argues that it's vital to identify how new developments like nanotechnology or mobile phones could effect the environment and scientific research – both in good ways and bad.

THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE
Marcus du Sautoy has just been appointed as Oxford University's Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and speaks to Science in Action about his passion for maths. He argues that mathematics is the key to many of greatest scientific and technological advances in history and that it even forms the basis for great works of art, from music to literature.

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