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PBS’ NOVA preps Cuba cancer treatment special

American pubcaster PBS is set to launch a new one-hour special about Americans traveling to Cuba for cancer treatment as part of its prime-time science shingle ‘NOVA’. Cuba’s Cancer Hope explores ...
January 14, 2020

American pubcaster PBS is set to launch a new one-hour special about Americans traveling to Cuba for cancer treatment as part of its prime-time science shingle ‘NOVA’.

Cuba’s Cancer Hope explores how some Americans with cancer are defying the U.S. embargo to seek treatment in Cuba, where lifesaving immunotherapy drugs can be very effective but prohibitively expensive at home, with American pharmaceutical companies only beginning to acquire patents on crucial medications.

The one-hour special looks at Cuba’s ingenious cancer vaccines while also examining questions of accessibility and the political history of Cuba and its fraught relationship with the U.S. since the Cold War — Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology (CIM) in Havana is one of the leading developers of cancer vaccines, treatments that are unavailable in the U.S. because of the long-held trade embargo.

Cuba’s Cancer Hope is a ‘NOVA’ production by Bluespark Collaborative for WGBH Boston. It is written and directed by Llewellyn Smith. Kelly Thomson produces, with co-executive producers Julia Cort and Chris Schmidt for ‘NOVA’. ‘NOVA’ is a production of WGBH Boston.

“Cancer presents daunting challenges—for patients and for researchers—especially in an economically isolated country like Cuba. But those challenges are inspiring some incredibly creative solutions,” said Cort in a statement. “This film tells a story of medical innovation that’s completely unknown to most people in the U.S., and at the same time does what ‘NOVA’ does best, illuminating and demystifying complex science.”

The special premieres April 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on PBS.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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