Docs

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
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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