By Stephen Adams, Medical Correspondent
Alexander Masters, author of the book Stuart: A Life Backwards, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book Awards, has been desperately searching for a cure to neuroendocrine (’NET’) tumours. His editor Dido Davies is suffering from the disease.
Although it was widely reported that the Apple founder died of pancreatic cancer, what really killed him was NET cancer in the pancreas. Such cancers are relatively rare, and there have been few advances in treatment for years..
Masters came across Swedish researchers who have high hopes for a potential treatment, a virus that ’eats’ NET cancer cells.
However, they need about £2 million to fund clinical trials of the modified virus, which at the moment is languishing in a university freezer.
Masters said: “I’ve tried to interest Apple in this, but who do you contact?
“I would wholeheartedly appeal to them to help fund this research. After all, Apple rakes in £2 million every seven minutes.”
Masters has written about his search for a cure in today’s Telegraph Magazine.
Professor Magnus Essand of Uppsala University in Sweden claimed the cancer-eating virus was potentially “better than anything else ”.
“It kills human tumour cell lines that are resistant to every drug available,” he said.
“We urgently need to see if we can replicate these results in humans.”
Prof Essand is currently hindered by the lack of a patent, meaning there is currently no incentive for drugs firms to develop the virus as a medicine.
In addition, the Swedish government will not cover the full cost of clinical trials, leaving Prof Essand’s team reliant on private donations.
It is unclear whether Jobs was aware of the research before he died last October, aged 56. He eventually agreed to conventional treatment, but only after delaying surgery and chemo in favour of alternative medicine.
Professor Alan Melcher, a Cancer Research UK funded expert at using viruses to treat cancer at Leeds University, commented: “This new approach to treating neuroendocrine tumours is undoubtedly promising, but as yet unproven in the clinic.”