Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Hthere is a film that pulls at the heartstrings as it painstakingly covers the lives of 10 patients participating in stem cell research trials in the United States. From a quadriplegic basketball star in high school to a mother with recurrent cancers, the subjects are experiencing remarkable improvements thanks to this medical revolution. One of the most moving moments is when Ryan, the teenage athlete, returns home four months after his first treatment and raises his hand to greet his loved ones at the airport, a progress that would have been unthinkable without the advent of stem cell therapy.

Although the treatment has proven to be extraordinarily successful in combating incurable diseases, research remains controversial as it involves the use of human embryos, which are inevitably intertwined with the much-debated abortion debate in American politics. In addition, pharmaceutical companies are hostile to a medical technology that would significantly reduce traditional drug dependence. In the case of cancer patients, as stem cells can multiply into healthy cells to repair damaged areas from within, the research aims to reach a point where chemotherapy would no longer be necessary. Once banned by George W Bush, federal funding for stem cell studies has gradually increased, although it remains mostly allocated to non-embryonic research.

This documentary is an effective emotional appeal, though it might have begun to explore the scientific side of research earlier than halfway through a two-hour film. Nevertheless, the final image of a woman with corneal injury now swells able to enjoy indoor mountaineering with the optimism that research will be allowed to continue on its journey.

Ending Disease will be released on November 5 on digital platforms.

By Victor

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