CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES
Produced by Ken Burns and directed by Barak Goodman, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies tells the comprehensive story of cancer, from its first description in an ancient Egyptian scroll to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions. The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D.
The six-hour, three-part film interweaves a sweeping historical narrative with intimate stories about contemporary patients, and an investigation into the latest scientific breakthroughs that may have brought us, at long last, within sight of lasting cures.
The search for a “cure” for cancer is the greatest epic in the history of science, spanning centuries and continents, complete with heroes, villains and sudden twists. This episode follows that centuries-long search, but centers on the story of Sidney Farber, who, defying conventional wisdom in the late 1940s, introduces the modern era of chemotherapy, eventually galvanizing a full-scale national “war on cancer.” Interwoven with Farber’s narrative is the story of Olivia Blair, who at 14 months old is diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which spreads to her brain and spinal column.