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Cracking Cancer

Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Sue Ridout

DVD, color, 44 min.
General Adult
Health Sciences

Reviewed by Kay Hogan Smith, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences

Date Entered: 1/2/2018

This documentary from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series, The Nature of Things, investigates the groundbreaking work under way by the “Personal OncoGenomics Program” (POG) in British Columbia. Their research approach is to invite late stage cancer patients to contribute their genomic profiles, allowing clinicians to (hopefully) pinpoint “actionable” mutations which might be responsive to treatments as outside the box as diabetes medicines or high blood pressure treatments. While this actually happens to less than 40 percent of the POG participants, even that success rate is remarkable considering the stage of cancer – indeed a few “superresponders” have been fortunate enough to see their cancers disappear altogether. Regardless, the DNA from all the participants are fed into a massive dataset which will be a resource that may lead to revolutions in the way cancers are categorized and treated. Narrated by the series’ personable host, David Suzuki, the film includes interviews with researchers and clinicians as well as patients themselves, who display extraordinary courage and cheer even when the trial treatments don’t go as well as hoped for. Those hopes are obviously shared by the team of scientists leading the program, who express their realistic overriding goal of one day making cancer a manageable chronic condition instead of a life-threatening enigma.