An unexpected chain of events brought the iCancer (AdVince) fundraising team together in 2012.
Having discovered that a potential therapy, a cancer busting virus, which if successfully developed could significantly extend the lives of patients with neuroendocrine tumour, the same cancer as Steve Jobs, was languishing in a freezer in Sweden for lack of just £2million.
Author Alexander Masters had discovered the potential therapy whilst researching neuroendocrine treatments for his best friend Dido Davis. He wrote about it in the Telegraph. Two weeks later Dominic Nutt, having just been diagnosed and treated for the same condition, wrote a response in the Telegraph.
Liz Scarff and David Carter read Dominic’s response and a few days later we all met in the Weatherspoons pub in Victoria Station, London and over beer and lemonade formed a campaign group, iCancer.
We put the crowdfunding campaign together in a little over a week. We had no money behind us and everybody volunteered their time for free. So there was no fancy website, no motivational wristband and no rock concert.
It was just us, the scientists, the virus and you.
Eight months later thanks to 2,000 supporters and one supremely generous oilman, Vince Hamilton, the £2million was on the lab bench in Sweden.
And in April 2016 the clinical trial began.
For questions about the clinical trial please read our FAQ section
The idea, The Plutocratic Proposal, is to set up a new way to finance legitimate and scientifically sound medical trials that would not otherwise get funding.
We are doing this by devising an entirely new funding mechanism that we believe could raise millions of pounds of fresh money, especially for rare diseases.
The mechanism is based on the novel fundraising approach iCancer used to raise £2 million pounds in eight months for Uppsala.
Put briefly, we want to develop an independently managed database of peer-reviewed potential trials that have not gone ahead because there is no money to pay for them, and match them to a patient with the money to finance the trial.
The process will be conducted entirely through the independent body (to avoid things such as undue pressure from desperate funders or exploitation of patients by research labs and quacks) and at all stages it will be overseen by a ethical committee.
In return, the funding patient will be offered a place on the trial when it begins, as long as they still meet the trial inclusion criteria.
Alternatively, the donor may nominate a suitable patient who might benefit from the trial – a friend, relative, or even someone they don’t know: a sick child they’ve read about in the papers, for example.
Read more about the Plutocratic Proposal.