Short Film, Big Impact: New Documentary Helps Spread Awareness About Breakthrough Cancer Treatment

vile of blood

Last spring, Kari and Tom Whitehead, feeling hopeless and out of options, decided to enroll their 7-year-old daughter, Emma, who was suffering from leukemia, into an experimental treatment program. Emma has miraculously emerged from the treatment free of cancer, and is now in remission. Dr. Carl June, head of translational medicine in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, spearheads the charge to perfect a gene therapy that eradicates cancer by training a person’s own immune system to kill their cancer cells, creating ‘serial killer cells.’ The New York Times published an article on December 11 about the groundbreaking treatment that saved Emma’s life, which became one of the most emailed and viewed articles of that day.

To help spread awareness about the disease, Oscar-winning director Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels), a collaborator and friend of the DB Productions team, has directed a documentary short which will focus on Emma’s story, and her miraculous recovery.

Emma’s father, Tom, has taken to the Facebook page he created to help share Emma’s story to speak about the film.

“Like most families affected by pediatric cancer we want to help spread awareness about the disease. We are excited about an upcoming 3-minute documentary that is being produced about the CART-19 clinical trial… It’s part of a series of documentaries about innovations that are having a really big impact. The director of the film, Ross Kauffman, first heard of CART-19 when he read about the three adults who had been treated and he has followed the story since…We can’t wait to see the story that Ross tells about CART-19!”

The film, which was produced by DB Productions, is part of the GE sponsored Focus Forward series. Focus Forward will share 30 three-minute films which explore “innovative people who are reshaping the world through act or invention.” The documentaries will be featured in film festivals all over the globe; allowing Emma’s story to be heard world-wide and making an impact that could possibly change the fate of thousands of adults and children suffering from leukemia.

 

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