Saturday, 3 November 2012
iCancer: People before profit. Let's crowdfund the anti-cancer virus that could save thousands
iCancer represents a team of guerrilla fundraisers who have launched a global campaign to fund research into a potential treatment for cancer (the kind that killed Steve Jobs). To find out more about the campaign, watch the campaign video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7W-52AwmH4 and read about iCancer below (information from http://icancer.org.uk/).
The potential therapy, a cancer-busting virus, which if successfully developed could significantly extend the lives of patients with the same cancer as Steve Jobs, is currently sitting in a freezer in Sweden – but it can’t be tested for lack of just £2million.
Without the money, the research will cease and the virus will be thrown away, placing in jeopardy a therapy that could significantly extend the lives of thousands of NET cancer sufferers.
We’ve put this campaign together in a little over a week. We have no money behind us and everybody is volunteering their time for free. So there is no fancy website, now motivational wristband and no rock concert.
It’s just us, the scientists, the virus and you.
The campaign is led by author Alexander Masters who wrote the bestseller Stuart: A Life Backwards and Dominic Nutt, who has the same cancer as Steve Jobs. Masters took up the campaign when his close friend Dido Davies was diagnosed with the incurable cancer, known as a neuroendocrine tumour, or NET.
NETs are cancers of the neuroendocrine system which incorporate glands that produce insulin, adrenalin and the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. They can appear all over the body. NETs are silent killers. Most don’t have any symptoms – until the cancer is critically advanced.
But there is a new potential treatment for NETs – a cancer which is on the increase – but big business won’t stump up the £2million needed to fund the first stage of trials, because at this early stage there is no money to be made. The Swedish research team, led by Prof Magnus Essand, is so keen to collaborate and share his findings, he published his research. But now it is out in the public domain it can’t be protected by a patent and make a profit.
But we want to put people before profit and bring this potential therapy to people.
Fellow iCancer campaigner and social media expert Liz Scarff said: “We are appealing direct to the people. We are mavericks taking this to our Twitter communities across the world. We are cutting out the middlemen and the
“Steve Jobs would not have given up. He would have found a way round the problem. That’s what we’re doing. As Steve Jobs said: ‘Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful…that’s what matters to me.’
There has been a huge and unexplained increase in the incidence of NET cancers in recent years, of up to 500 per cent, according to some research papers. In the case of Steve Jobs it was reported that he died of pancreatic cancer – although in fact he had a NET tumour on his pancreas.
The virus’ creator, Prof Magnus Essand of Uppsala University, says the £2million will bring the virus to the point where a big pharmaceuticals company can take it over, test it, patent it, bring it to full-scale development and make a profit.
“The virus may have a similar relationship with a NET patient as drugs have with diabetics or patients with heart disease. Insulin doesn’t cure diabetes, but it manages it so that a diabetic doesn’t die from lack of insulin. Cancer, too, is becoming a chronic disease, which, even when incurable, can be controlled for long periods of time. If we get this right, virus treatments may have huge
For more information on NETs and help and support please visit the NET Patient Foundation.
To support the campaign, follow @iCancer on Twitter and tweet details about the campaign using #iCancer. You can donate from £2 using links to the Indiegogo site, the Twitter feed, the Facebook page and YouTube.
Please give generously! Just think, £2 is basically a cup of coffee! If a million people gave just £2 each, that’s it!