“This dog has cancer,” said Dr. José Baselga as he played with the family pet on the Christmas Eve of 1995. His family members, stunned, shook their heads. “You’re an oncologist,” José’s wife, Silvia, said. “You think everything has cancer.” José was adamant, though. He insisted the cocker spaniel required immediate surgery on an unseen tumor to survive. Silvia knew there was no use arguing with a man who never encountered a roadblock he couldn’t overcome, so she agreed to let José and his father, also a doctor, operate on the dog the night before Christmas.
José was right—the dog had cancer. The surgery was a success, and the cocker spaniel lived another healthy decade of life.
Intuition like José’s comes along once in a generation. Clinical measurements may be the currency of practicing physicians, but José, who passed away in March of 2021, was a visionary oncologist who could see patterns in the data that others couldn’t. Heralded as the “Father of Translational Medicine,” he pioneered clinical and research approaches used in common practice today, and his work contributed to the development of numerous lifesaving cancer medicines. He inspired doctors and researchers around the globe with his passionate, unwavering drive to make a difference for his patients.
José Baselga: Cancer’s Fiercest Opponent follows José’s storied career – celebrating incredible achievements and overcoming challenges – as a physician-researcher at the world’s leading hospitals to closing his career as the leader of oncology research and development at AstraZeneca. A celebration of tenacity and vision, the film takes viewers from Barcelona to Boston to New York, exploring José’s life and legacy as a scientist, father, mentor, and friend.