I was lucky enough to see this new documentary at The Boston Film Festival this week called “I Want So Much to LIve”. It is a beautifully done film about the invention of Herceptin. This short film highlighted the young scientists of Genentech who made it their mission and passion to get this drug perfected and approved. It was these young kids in California who figured out that something was odd in the breast cancer world; they wanted to know why after treatment some survived and some didn’t. They figured out that 20% of all breast cancers were fed by the her2 protein and then went about finding an antibody for it.
As I was diagnosed to be her2/neu positive in 2007– 4 years after Herceptin was approved– I was lucky enough to receive this drug. The story touches on the women who were not so lucky, who wrote letters pleading with the drug companies to let them have this new drug that was available. The film explained the clinical trial process and how a drug gets pushed through the FDA–giving us both sides to the story and showing how there was no real ‘bad guy’ because everyone was working toward the same goal–finding a safe and effective drug against breast cancer.
What struck me most about this documentary was the unbelievable commitment of these scientists to prove that Herceptin was worth the companies time, money and effort. They knew in their hearts that this was an important step in helping to cure cancer, and they would not take ‘no’ for an answer. It also amazed me that it was only in 2003 that this drug finally became approved, and that had it not, I would be in a very different situation right now.
You should definitely see this film if it comes to any of your cities. It made me feel like all the walks, runs,and bike rides we do to raise money for research against all cancers is actually doing something.
Here is the link to the film’s website index.html