Article written by Cindy George for Texas Medical Center | March 11, 2019

EXCERPT: Film traces decades of research leading to treatment that unleashes the immune system to fight cancer

The most compelling image sequences in the Breakthrough documentary, which premiered March 9 at South by Southwest, are the seconds when the face of immunologist James Allison, Ph.D., fills the frame amid superimposed images and film of his loved ones lost to cancer.

His mother. His uncles. His brother, Mike Allison, who lost his battle with metastatic prostate cancer one week before the immunologist’s own prostate cancer diagnosis.

Allison, 70, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Japanese immunologist Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., for the discovery of cancer therapies that stimulate the immune system to attack tumor cells. Treatments developed from Allison’s work have extended the lives of thousands of people with advanced disease, though certain cancers have responded better to immunotherapy than others.

Breakthrough, directed by Bill Haney, follows Allison’s professional and personal journey over several decades. The film’s world premiere at South by Southwest (SXSW) brought Houston innovators to the epicenter of a festival celebrating the ways people push the limits of creativity and progress through film, music and interactive media…”

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