BBC documents pioneering surgery
About the documentary
This groundbreaking three-part series concludes with the extraordinary stories of clinical trials being carried out at the surgical unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
Surgeons allow the cameras to follow as they venture into uncharted territory, performing new kinds of surgery on human subjects for the very first time. Tracking three clinical trials at the vanguard of medicine, the programme asks what it is like to take part in this kind of experimental treatment, for both surgeons and patients. For all involved, the stakes could not be higher. The surgeons relish the intellectual challenge and the thrill of pushing science forwards - but they know that reputations and self-belief are on the line. For the patients, there is the desire to benefit from potentially lifesaving new techniques and treatments - but also the risk of unpredictable adverse reactions that could even be life-threatening. As one surgeon says, 'Clinical trials wouldn't be possible if there weren't patients who were brave enough to take part and put their health and lives on the line. So we have a duty to make the trial as safe as we can.'