FAQ

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

 


Who are we?

We are a group of five individuals who have been touched by NETs, a rare cancer of the neuroendocrine system. We are: Liz Scarff and David Carter of Fieldcraft Studios, Dominic Nutt – a NET patient diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in January this year (2012), author and campaigner Alexander Masters, whose friend and editor Dido Davies has an advanced Net cancer and Colin Midstone, a publicist who has worked with Alexander promoting his biographical novel, Stuart: A Life Backwards.


What are we doing?

We are raising £2m needed to pay for the testing of a NET-eating virus that could end deaths from this cancer. We are doing it direct – through Twitter and Facebook and Youtube, using Kickstarter (?). We are cutting out the middleman, the drugs companies and appealing straight to you. We are not a charity, we have no budget and the money goes direct to the research team – not us.

There are no wristbands, no fancy launches and no rock concerts. It’s just us and you.


Why are we doing it?

We are frustrated that there is a potential therapy for NET cancers and it will only cost £2m to find out if it works.
We are frustrated that the barriers in the way of testing this are piffling, petty and bureaucratic.
We are inspired by our friends who have been touched by this cancer and for whom a remedy may be within touching distance.
We are motivated by the fact that this cancer is on the increase, that it is often undiagnosed, that it will kill many more – and kill more unnecessarily.
We are also fired up by the responses we have had already on Twitter. You want to help. We want you to help. This is people power. We don’t need to pay deference to the rules – we can fund this in a heartbeat.


What is this virus – how does it work?

The NET-targetting virus is based on adenovirus serotype 5, a virus that normally gives you a bad cold. Thanks to designed genetic alterations it only replicates in and kill NET cancer cells. Healthy cells in humans are programmed to die when they become infected by a virus, because this prevents the infection spreading to other parts of the body. But through its mutations, a cancer cell has somehow managed to turn off the bits of its genetic programme that enforce cell suicide – that is how an ordinary, healthy cell becomes cancerous. This means that, if a suitable virus infects a cancer cell, it can continue to replicate inside cancer cell uncontrollably, causing the cell to tear apart. The progeny viruses then spread to other cancer cells nearby and repeat the process. A virus becomes, in effect, a cancer of cancer.


Will it work in humans?

The Swedish team is hopeful that it will – and that what the tests we want to fund are designed to discover.


Will it work for other cancers?

We need to see if it will work for NETs. But experts are hopeful that it could be adjusted to have applications for other cancers.
Are you diverting money from other diseases and cancers?

No. This is a new way of funding cancer research. We are asking people to donate directly to the research project, in small amounts – as a one off. We do not want people to stop giving to medical charities.

If it’s so good, why is no one funding it?

Pharmaceutical companies are interested in research only when it looks likely it will produce a profit. This research is some years away from that at this stage. Not only that, the Swedish research team placed much of their research in to the public domain, in order to help others with their research.

This act of altruism has meant that the Swedish team is unable to patent their research. This, in turn, means that pharmaceutical companies cannot guarantee that they alone will own the research at this stage and therefore profit from it. Only when it has been trialled and developed further, can a new set of patents be applied – giving a drugs company sole ownership of the product, and a guaranteed profit.

The Swedish team has received grants from Swedish government funding and the Swedish Cancer Society (equivalent to Cancer Research UK). The grants cover the research to develop viruses for therapy but they are not big enough to run clinical trials with an advanced medicinal product where special rules apply (viruses falls under this category in Europe).


Is the Swedish research credible?

Yes. Hugely. It has been supported by many UK and European experts, including Professor Kevin Harrington (a Reader in Biological Cancer Therapies at The Institute of Cancer Research and an Honorary Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust) See:

http://www.icr.ac.uk/research/team_leaders/Harrington_Kevin/index.shtml

It is also supported by Professor Kjell Oberg, President of the European Neuroendocrine Tumour Society (ENETS) who are supporters of this research.

The research leading to this virus has been published in several internationally recognised and credible biomedical journals, including in Clinical Cancer Research 2007 (Impact factor 7.742 position 14 out of 196 oncology journal), PLoS ONE 2010 (IF 4.411, a general scientific journal), Gene Therapy 2011 (IF 4.538, 2nd best gene therapy journal), and the Journal of Virology 2011 (IF 5.402, Best virology journal).

Are you a charity?

No. We are a group of people who have come together who want to see the research happen.

Where is my money going?

If you donate via our indiegogo page your money is going directly from indiegog into the bank account of Uppsala University or directly into the Paypal account of Uppsala University – depending on which method of payment you chose.


Have you asked Apple for the money?

Yes. However, at this time they feel unable to help.