December 24, 2019
A new documentary profiles the Nobel-winning, harmonica-slinging scientist behind one of the biggest modern breakthroughs in cancer treatment
Some beautiful things are happening: behind Jim Allisons quest to cure cancer
Jim Allison doesn’t quite fit the archetype of the studious, buttoned-up scientist: with a full beard and long hair, the most gravelly of Texas drawls and a history of ripping a harmonica on stage with Willie Nelson, Allison seems more like a longstanding Grateful Dead fan than game-changer in the quest to cure cancer.
The music-loving, 71-year-old scientist, long a renegade in the field of cancer research, is perhaps an unlikely prism through which to view the world of cutting-edge medicine. But the internationally renowned researcher has fundamentally shifted the trajectory of cancer treatment – an achievement covered in the new documentary Jim Allison: Breakthrough, by film-maker Bill Haney, which traces the arc of Allison’s iconoclastic career from a childhood marred by loss from cancer in rural Texas to a Nobel Prize in Medicine, along with Tasuku Honjo of Japan in 2018.
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