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Could a fungus from the bottom of the Great Lakes hold a cure for cancer?

Feb 12, 2018

Could a fungus from the bottom of the Great Lakes hold a cure for cancer?

The final answer is still far in the distance, but a team of scientists believes there is promise in newly discovered Great Lakes fungi.

Robert Cichewicz is one of those researchers, and he joined Stateside today. Cichewicz once lived in West Michigan and went to grad school at Michigan State. Now he’s a natural products professor at the University of Oklahoma.

Listen to the full conversation above, or read a highlight below.

Cichewicz's team is looking for ways to help treat pediatric cancers. He said children make up “an underserved population of patients there just aren’t adequate drugs for.”

As his team discussed the kind of fungi they could source for this project, Cichewicz said the Great Lakes became “an amazing opportunity.”

“We were shocked that the Great Lakes, despite being one of these largest fresh water bodies in the world, they just didn’t have any record of an entire kingdom of life – the kingdom of fungi – being recorded from them,” he said.

His team has since found tons of new organisms and species on the bottom of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron.

Listen above for the full conversation. You'll hear what these Great Lakes organisms could mean for future cancer treatments, and why Cheerios play a crucial role in the process.

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