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Source:  The New York Times

Documentaries about innovative figures don’t always offer correspondingly innovative filmmaking.  But even coloring within the lines of conventional biographical storytelling, “Jim Allison: Breakthrough” provides an accessible introduction to James P. Allison, who, along with Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won the 2018 Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries in cancer immunotherapy.

Allison developed an antibody to keep T-cells, the white blood cells that attack viruses, in attack mode when faced with tumors.

Allison’s mother died of lymphoma, and a brother’s experience of prostate cancer from which he ultimately died, is chronicled throughout.

We’re told that Allison raised the prospect of the immune system’s cancer-fighting potential at a speech at the Texas Legislature in 1981, when he advocated teaching evolution in the state’s schools.  For Allison, who grew up in Texas, that issue was a long-term fight, too.

The film explains the barriers — justified skepticism, professional groupthink, the high cost of long-term research — that Allison faced in proving that a new kind of cancer treatment could work.

For cities and showtimes, visit the “Jim Allison: Breakthrough” website.

Read the story at The New York Times.


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