A Year to Save My Life: George McGavin and Melanoma

BBC FOUR (1 x 60 mins)

After being diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of malignant melanoma - Acral Lentiginous Melanoma - television presenter and biologist Dr George McGavin embarks on a highly emotional and deeply personal journey as he goes through treatment for his cancer.

George’s treatment is Targeted Drug Therapy, using drugs which were only approved for use by the NHS weeks before his diagnosis. 

During this journey, he is given unprecedented access to the process and science behind his medical treatment and diagnosis. He also meets some of the most highly regarded scientists in the field of cancer research in his quest to understand not only his disease but what the future holds for cancer treatment.

Amongst these scientists are Professor Sir Michael Stratton, director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Chief Executive Officer of the Wellcome Genome Campus, whose work resulted in the discovery of the mutation in the B RAF gene responsible for his form of Melanoma.

George also travels to Houston Texas to meet Professor James P. Allison, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine, to find out about his pioneering work in the field of Immunotherapy - the greatest breakthrough in cancer research in a century. Back home in his own hospital he meets a unique group of stage four melanoma patients who owe their lives to Professor Allison’s work. 

Ultimately his journey culminates when he is given his prognosis after three months of treatment which will determine his future, will these ground-breaking drugs actually work?