Film premieres revolutionary cancer research program at Intermountain Healthcare

ST. GEORGE — A revolution in cancer research is taking place all over the world and it is emanating from the most unlikely place; right here in St. George.

Dr.’s Lincoln Nadauld, Derrick Haslem and Pravin Mishra along with a world-class team at Intermountain Healthcare Precision Genomics have initiated a novel approach to the treatment of cancer, a press release said.

They are changing the way cancer is treated by sequencing a patient’s DNA to find genetic mutations that are known to cause cancer. The mutations are then targeted by specific drugs.

“I love it,” Nadauld said of his work. “I derive a ton of satisfaction and fulfillment in being able to translate science from the lab into medicine.”


See Nadauld and Haslem discuss the innovations happening at Intermountain Healthcare

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Terri Draper, communications director for Intermountain Healthcare Southwest Region, described Intermountain Precision Genomics as the perfect storm in a good way.

“The right people came together in this small town to create this program that is transforming the way we treat cancer,” Draper said.

“It has put us on the front end of the innovation curve,” said Gary Stone, operations manager for Intermountain Healthcare Dixie Regional Medical Center.

The work of Nadauld and the team at Intermountain Precision Genomics will be featured in a documentary film which will screen Friday at 7 p.m. during the Docutah International Documentary Film Festival.

“Moonshot Through the Double Helix” tells the story of how Nadauld and the team came to be included in the “Cancer Moonshot Initiative,” led by Vice President Joe Biden, the release said.

The film was produced and directed by film students from Dixie State University under the guidance of film professor and Docutah founder, Phil Tuckett. What began as an idea for a documentary class project morphed into the feature-length documentary that will make its debut at the international festival.

But “Moonshot Through the Double Helix” actually started before that.

Director Stan Smith first heard about Intermountain Precision Genomics at a county-wide meeting for city mayors held at Intermountain Healthcare, he said. Smith is the mayor of Springdale.

Smith said he found the work that Nadauld and his team were doing in cancer research quite fascinating. At the time of the meeting Smith had recently lost both his father and younger sister to cancer.

Smith is not a typical university student but said he was a huge fan of Tuckett and decided to enroll in one of his classes. That class turned out to be the documentary film class that provided the catalyst for the making of this film.

Since the inception of the film, the students have been shadowing Nadauld as he traveled to Washington D.C., Salt Lake City and Palo Alto, California, to meet with collaborators who have taken it upon themselves to solve one of the world’s most vexing problems how to conquer cancer.

For Smith, the film is about bringing hope to people who feel that there is none left.

Smith said in a press release:

The driving force behind the making of this film for me was about giving patients and families hope. Very few people know what genomic research is, but when you explain to them what it can do and that it can give those suffering from cancer new hope, they go – wow!

My little sister died from colon cancer and perhaps, if she had lived a bit longer, there would have been hope right in her back yard here in Southern Utah. We need to educate everyone about genomics and that there are now options beyond chemo and radiation. If people see this film and walk away saying there is hope, we will have succeeded.

“With Precision Genomics, there is hope,” Smith said.

Nadauld’s hope for the film is threefold; one, he hopes the film provides hope to cancer patients by showing them that people all over the world are doing all they can to help them; two, he hopes that viewers recognize the efforts of the Precision Genomics team, Intermountain Healthcare and all of the professionals they partner with; and three, he hopes viewers see the amazing work that the filmmakers at DSU’s film program are capable of producing.

“Moonshot Through the Double Helix” will premiere Friday at 7 p.m. in the DSU Cox Auditorium located at 375 S. 700 East in St. George. A second screening will take place Saturday at noon at the Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle in St. George.

Event details

  • What: “Moonshot Through the Double Helix”
  • When: Friday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m. | Saturday, Sept. 10, noon
  • Where: Friday; Dixie State University, Cox Auditorium, 375 S. 700 East, St. George | Saturday; the Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle, St. George
  • Cost: All-day pass, $15; single movie ticket, $10
  • Purchase tickets: Online | Cox Auditorium Box Office, 375 S. 700 East, St. George | Eccles Fine Arts Center, 225 S. 700 East, St. George

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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