Year of Production: 2017
Six years ago Zuri Scrivens, the mother of a toddler, was very ill with incurable breast cancer that had spread to her liver and lymph nodes. Today Zuri has no signs of cancer, not because of a miraculous new cancer drug, but thanks to a diabetes medication.
Zuri’s remarkable recovery is captured in an intimate new film called CRACKING CANCER, for CBC Television’s The Nature of Things. Cracking Cancer follows a group of patients with incurable cancer on a heartbreaking journey through a highly experimental clinical trial at the BC Cancer Agency called POG – Personalized OncoGenomics.
The trial compares patients’ normal DNA – each cell’s complete set of instructions – with that of their tumours, to find the genetic mutations causing their cancer. “We’re trying to find what’s driving that cancer,” says Dr. Janessa Laskin, who is co-founder of the trial. “And then can we identify a drug that will block the cancer driver in each patient?” Zuri’s cancer driver was a mutation that caused a very high growth factor. The team plowed through decades of data to isolate which drug in all of medicine, not just cancer, might block that growth factor. They zeroed in on a diabetes medication. Zuri received the drug and standard hormone treatment. Within 5 months, her cancer became undetectable.
POG offers a radical new way of treating cancer, not according to where it originates in the body, but rather as a disease of genetic mutations. Thousands more will join the trial, all hoping for their own salvation, all helping science to crack the cancer code.
Cast/Participants: David Suzuki
AVAILABLE ON: TV/Télévision