Over the past year, Horizon has been behind the scenes at one of Britain's leading cancer hospitals, the Royal Marsden in London. The film follows Rosemary, Phil and Ray as they undergo remarkable new treatments - from a billion pound genetically targeted drug designed to fight a type of skin cancer, to advanced robotic surgery. We witness the breakthroughs in surgery and in scientific research that are offering new hope and helping to defeat a disease that more than one in three of us will develop at some stage of our lives.
In recent years, researchers have started to understand why people love the foods they do, and that there may be a way to make snacks taste sweeter without adding any extra sugar – and it's all down to a trick that happens in the brain. This film meets a scientist who has grown a tomato that is sweeter and juicier than anything likely to be found on a supermarket shelf, and follows those hoping to become elite, professional tasters.
Two procedures so formidable, they would not have been attempted even a few years ago. Surgical teams at the Queen Elizabeth are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. But despite state-of-the-art diagnostic scanning, sometimes cancer surgeons don't know exactly what they are up against until they open the patient up on the operating table. Even with the most meticulous planning, sometimes they must resort to taking critical decisions live in the theatre. 74-year-old Jasmine Harkness has been referred to the specialist sarcoma unit with a vast tumour in her abdomen, weighing more than three stone - a third of her total body weight. It is consuming her, displacing organs including her stomach and liver. Unless it can be removed, she has just four weeks to live. Sarcoma specialists Sam Ford and Professor David Gourevitch can't be sure whether they will be able to save Jasmine until they open her up and inspect her anatomy. Such is the risk of this surgery - five years ago they would not have embarked on this intervention. Sue Sinclair, lead anaesthetist and matriarch of theatre, keeps the others in check - working alongside them as they battle to detach the tumour from Jasmine's organs and blood vessels, and remove it intact. Whenever it presses heavily on vital blood vessels, Jasmine's blood pressure plummets, placing her life in grave danger. It will take unwavering focus to keep her alive. The tumour has grown so invasively that it has crushed and displaced Jasmine's internal organs. Sam and David have a puzzle on their hands to identify what and where everything is. At times, dark humour is the only way to release the tension as they grapple with blood, guts and mind-boggling complexity.
This time, we meet a man who feels no pain, a woman who can smell Parkinson's disease, a man who can remember every face he has ever seen and a survivor of a head injury who woke up to find he could suddenly play the piano. These remarkable cases are shedding new light on one of the most mysterious parts of the human body - our brain.