Given my intense irritation recently at the Anti-Safety, Pro-COVID-19 propagators in the news and their public defiance of intelligent, virological Social-distancing and Stay-at-Home Orders—while coronavirus infections continue to rise in alarming numbers—I thought it would be fantastic to post some remarkable, positive humanitarian news in the area of science and medical therapies in the fight against cancer! After all, we reasonable, well-educated people have been in need for an exciting story that reinforces the enriching necessity for expert, scholarly science, breakthrough medical science especially that ushers hundreds and hundreds of happy results, happy recoveries, and lengthy remissions! Ah, every so often something good does come out of Texas! It’s good to be proven wrong sometimes.
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Dr. Allison, the 2018 Nobel Prize Co-Winner in Physiology or Medicine, is the subject of a riveting documentary that shows the spotlight on his groundbreaking work and serves as a stark, prophetic reminder of the obligation for extensive science in the year of COVID-19. Perhaps COVID-20 as well.
Last night I was fortunate to catch the broadcast by PBS’ Independent Lens the documentary film Jim Allison: Breakthrough. Boy was it a much needed encouragement and frequent cheer-leading shouts of “YES, OH MY STARS & GALAXIES,” and “I LOVE YOU SCIENCE” that I needed right now. Watching too much current news can really begin to dampen and darken your spirit for life. Your levels of endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin can suffer from too much prolonged cortisol.
From our own University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center website on Dr. Allison’s astounding research and work. I highly recommend reading the entire webpage:
Immunotherapy innovator Jim Allison’s Nobel purpose, some excerpts
Jim Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology and executive director of the immunotherapy platform, pioneered a revolutionary cancer treatment that frees the immune system to attack tumors.
“By stimulating the ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells, this year’s Nobel Prize laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy”
Allison showed that the protein CTLA-4, which is found on the surface of T cells, acts as a brake — a type of immune system checkpoint the body uses to avoid a dangerously over-reactive immune response. He then developed an antibody to block CTLA-4’s “braking” action, freeing T cells to attack cancer.
His work and determination led to the development of Ipilimumab, the first in a class of drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. In 2011, the drug — commercially named Yervoy — was approved for late-stage melanoma by the Food and Drug Administration. It has yielded unprecedented results. Twenty percent of patients with advanced melanoma who took the drug now live for at least three years, and many live 10 years and beyond.
Crucial funding for his research over the years has come from the National Institutes of Health, particularly the National Cancer Institute, the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Cancer Research Institute, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Stand Up To Cancer and PICI.
Toward the end of this documentary film Dr. Allison is reading a letter he received from a lady, a wife, a total stranger. I am not going to spoil it for you, but it is definitely a moment that all we human beings with a grateful, compassionate, unselfish heart must hear/read more often than not. Perspective needed. This is unprecedented news in this daunting, beautiful life we’ve been privileged to live, inside this tiny minuscule space in time, on one tiny, tiny pale-blue rock among billions and billions of other stars and planets in our ONE little galaxy… among billions or trillions of other galaxies. It is called the Overview Effect. Get some.
Share any thoughts below you might have once you’ve watched the film, or not watched if you’re already familiar with this man’s phenomenal work and dedication over many decades of incessant persistence. It is truly a man, a scientist, and story to greatly admire. I do.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Stay Curious!
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