Cover art for podcast Distillations | Science History Institute

Distillations | Science History Institute

294 EpisodesProduced by Science History InstituteWebsite

Each episode of Distillations podcast takes a deep-dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.


Episode 181: Chemotherapy

Ancient Greek doctors knew about it, but could do nothing about the scourge we know as cancer. Producer Ed Prosser interviews historian Viviane Quirke about the development of chemotherapy drugs in the 20th century, drugs that for the first time offered hope to cancer patients. Next up producer Christine Laskowski goes on a very personal journey. Last year her father was among the more than 1 million Americans diagnosed with cancer. Along with radiation, his treatment included a drug called cisplatin. Cisplatin has nasty side effects, so why is a drug first used to treat cancer in the 1970s still used for many cancers?

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits 00:33 Introduction 01:08 Interview: Viviane Quirke 06:58 Chemotherapy: Cisplatin 17:00 Closing Credits


Our theme music is composed by Andrew Chalfen. Additional credits may be found at

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