The Rarest Drug on Earth


    A patient with terminal cancer is given an experimental treatment using an ultra-rare radioactive element. His cancer goes into complete remission. Using a particle accelerator, scientists perform modern alchemy to potentially save countless lives.

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    The Rarest Drug on Earth

    • British-Columbia
    • Length: 10 min.
    • Director: Lucas Kavanagh, Jesse Lupini, Thomas Van Kalken
    • Genre: Documentary
    • Topics: Education, Innovation
    • Go to project lead
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    Pitch Video

    A rare radioactive element could revolutionize cancer treatment, and a team of scientists in Vancouver are on the case.

    Genre: Documentary
    Target Audience: Adults
    Target Length: 10 minutes
    Budget: $10,000

    Created By

    Lucas Kavanagh ,  British-Columbia


    An incredibly rare isotope called Actinium-225 could revolutionize the way we treat cancer. Preliminary trials have obliterated cancer in patients given only weeks to live. There's only one problem: it's almost impossible to obtain. Today, most of our global supply comes from American radioactive waste, but it's barely enough to treat a handful of patients per year. Due to this shortage, it's been impossible to do a large-scale clinical trial. A team of researchers in Vancouver is trying to change that. At TRIUMF, the world’s largest cyclotron particle accelerator, which is owned by a consortium of 20 Canadian universities - scientists are looking at a new way to make Actinium-225 using leftover particles from the accelerator. If successful, Canada could become the global supplier of a brand new, lifesaving cancer treatment.


    TRIUMF Life Sciences Program
    Vice Motherboard Coverage
    EU Science Hub Press Release

    The Team

    This project will be created by a small but dedicated team of producers. Together we have a wide breadth of experience that covers science communication, cinematography, motion graphics, production, and promotion.

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