University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Two UCSF Chancellors Emeriti to Appear in PBS Cancer Documentary

By | March 24, 2015

Two UCSF Chancellors Emeriti to Appear in PBS Cancer Documentary

The Ken Burns-produced three-part PBS documentary called “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,”will appear March 30-April 1 on your local PBS station. Image courtesy of PBS and Ark Media

UC San Francisco chancellors emeriti J. Michael Bishop, MD, and Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, will appear next week in a Ken Burns-produced PBS documentary called “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” which is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name by Columbia University oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD. It tells a comprehensive story of cancer, from its first description in an ancient Egyptian scroll to targeted research coming out of state-of-the-art laboratories of modern research institutions such as UCSF.

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Currently about 14 million people globally are diagnosed with cancer annually, and 7.6 million die from the disease. Mukherjee, a hematologist and an oncologist, has been recognized for his work on the formation of blood and the interactions between the micro-environment and cancer cells. He says the disease may just be the “inherent outer limit of our survival.”
The six-hour film takes the viewers on a journey from the early days of cancer to the current era of precision medicine, which gives hope to breakthroughs thanks to advancements in genomics and big data research.
Desmond-Hellmann, a UCSF trained oncologist who helped develop anti-cancer drug treatments at Genentech; and Bishop, a Nobel laureate who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1989 for cancer research with his colleague Harold Varmus, MD; will give valuable context to our understanding of the disease and our journey toward a cure.
The PBS documentary will air on three consecutive days starting March 30. Bishop and Desmond-Hellmann will appear in the second segment, which will air on March 31.