New Science Documentary, Breakthrough, Explores Cancer Researcher’s Work

Not many science documentaries follow the character of a great science mind closely, but that is not the case with Breakthrough. This new science documentary features the character of Nobel prize winner, Dr. James Allison, and goes into depth about his breakthrough work in cancer research.


The Life of a Gifted Scientist

The film Breakthrough is set to premiere at the upcoming South by Southwest. The filmmaker, Bill Haney, spokes to Ars Technica about the rare approach to science documentaries. He believes that most of the times, science filmmakers are more concerned about producing great films than about getting into the complex science that their characters worked on. This is often to avoid overwhelming the audience with heavy and complex subjects. Breakthrough is different in that it does go into the detailed science of Dr. Allison’s work, but it also has heart-warming parts that balance the film out.

Dr. Allison has worked extensively in cancer research. His earlier research focusing on empowering the immune system to fight against cancer was groundbreaking. The film goes into the lab and covers the breakthroughs that were made there as the research progressed. His work with T-cells is covered as well as the development of the cancer drug Ipi. In this way, the film stays true to the Nobel-prize winner’s published work on cancer research.

The other parts of the film cover the personality and personal life of Dr. Allison. The audience can follow his story as he goes from a young boy in rural Texas with a deep love for science all the way to the famous scientist that he is today. There are a lot of great personal stories and encounters that make the film balanced and captivating the whole way through. His passion for science and willingness to stand up for it is a recurring theme.

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