More than a decade in the making, the documentary film The Human Trial follows a groundbreaking clinical trial that peels back the headlines to show the sweat, passion and sacrifice behind every breakthrough cure. In 2011, Lisa Hepner and her husband Guy Mossman heard about a radical stem cell treatment for diabetes, a condition that currently affects over 530 million people across the world and is responsible for 6.7 million deaths each year.
Driven by a desire to cure Lisa of her own type 1 diabetes, the filmmakers were given unprecedented, real-time access to a clinical trial – only the sixth-ever embryonic stem cell trial in the world. For seven years, Lisa and Guy embedded themselves with a biotech company in San Diego. They filmed the researchers’ triumphs and failures in the lab, following them from Tokyo to Riyadh as they raised money to keep their trial going. At the same time, the husband/wife team followed two people living with diabetes, the self-described “guinea pigs” at the University of Minnesota. Combining these two points of view, the filmmakers reveal the emotional and physical rollercoaster that scientists and people with diabetes go through as they travel along the road to a cure for the condition.
“When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 21, I was told the cure was five years away. But thirty years later, I’m still waiting. While I was busy trying to outrun my disease, it was wreaking havoc on my organs,” said Lisa Hepner, Director of The Human Trial. “As our film shows, it doesn’t have to be this way. The cure for type 1 diabetes is no longer an empty promise that’s “five years away.” There’s reason to be hopeful if we support pioneering research in a meaningful way.”
The Human Trial is now playing in select theaters and virtual cinemas in the United States. Learn more.