Night Waves - 04/11/2010

Philip Dodd talks to Professor of Cancer Biology, Frances Balkwill, about her work to understand a disease that affects one third of Britons. Professor Balkwill runs a research team of 25 scientists, sits on parliament's cancer committee, directs public centres of the understanding of cells and is a resident researcher at Queen Mary, University of London. But as someone who operates at the front line of the fight against cancer are the military metaphors we habitually use appropriate when one is trying to save the body from its own cells. Indeed, the public understanding of disease and of science more generally is high on her list of priorities. She has published a number of books about science for children and was given the Royal Society Michael Faraday prize for her 'outstanding work in communicating the concepts, facts and fascination of science'. Her work is not confined to this country but includes 'You, Me and HIV, a book for young people in Sub-Saharan Africa, where she also works to help mitigate the effects of HIV aids. Philip Dodd talks to Prof Balkwill about the politics of cancer, the nature of scientific co-operation, the idea of disease and how you save the body from its own cells.