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Swede offers naming rights for cancer 'cure'

Swede offers naming rights for cancer 'cure'

Published: 10 Sep 2012 13:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Sep 2012 13:17 GMT+02:00

A Swedish professor at Uppsala University has designed a virus touted as a potential cure for the cancer that killed Apple-founder Steve Jobs. He talks to The Local about the virus, how it works, and the prospect of making "medical and fundraising history”.

Professor Magnus Essand explains that he has been busy dealing with “worldwide attention” after his work featured in the Telegraph newspaper in the UK last Friday.

Essand has been working on a virus which he developed in 2010 and which has proven to remove cancerous neuroendocrine tumours in mice – the same type of cancer that killed Steve Jobs in October last year.

However, the process of developing the virus so it can be tested on humans and then put on the market comes with a hefty price tag - somewhere between 10 and 20 million kronor ($1.5 to 3 million).

As a result, the team has been forced to look elsewhere for sponsorship (together with the option of having the potential cure named after the donor) in what the team refers to as “the making of medical and fundraising history”.

The Local chatted to Professort Essand to find out more.

The Local: So what exactly is it that you’ve discovered and what does it do?

It’s a virus that we’ve designed not discovered. Specifically, it can multiply itself in neuroendocrine tumour cells. A virus is an intracellular parasite and it needs a host to replicate. We’ve tested it on cell cultures in an animal mode – so far with mice that have human tumours.

We saw promising results in the mice, and the next step is to test it on humans. The results were intriguing enough to do that.

What do you need to make it viable for human use?

It’s a virus and there are strict pre-requisites for bringing those to clinical trials. We need to take the virus and produce it for patients, and the testing for this is extremely costly. To produce it at clinical grade requires a certified company with a high class clean-room facility.

How hard is it to find a donor?

It is extremely hard. We need 10 million kronor…maybe up to 20 million. Standard grants are enough for the development of a virus and the testing of it in animals, but we need much more money to do what we need to do. National grants don’t suffice at that level, we’re looking for sponsorship at an industry level.

How does the virus work and what are the side-effects?

It infects a tumour cell, copies itself thousands of times, makes new viral particles which burst or lyse the cell, thereby releasing progeny virus that can infect neighboring tumour cell.

It then spreads through the tumour mass and attracts the host immune system to attack tumour cells. The theoretical side-effects are similar to the common cold, and much milder than chemotherapy.

How soon do you think this treatment could be available?

If we get the money, we will have to produce it, test it, write protocols, get permission from the Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket), get a permit from the local ethical community.

If and when we get the money, it would be 18 months before we can actually start the phase-one trial, where we would find out the toxicity. The process is time consuming, involving many re-tests in our labs and then elsewhere. After all this, it has to be approved

Overall, it would be eight to ten years before it could be on the market. It’s a long road, indeed.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:26 September 10, 2012 by smilingjack
are you kidding? $1.5 million for a highly possible cure to a cancer and no funds available? thats equivalent to what the USA spends per minute in Afghanistan. Or what princess plump of sweden and her brother drink in champagne per year.

I know virus's are the answer to manipulating dna for all sorts of things.

something must be missing from this article.
16:06 September 10, 2012 by Grokh
copyright this patent that , curing cancer? hell no we must follow patent and copyrights thats what matters lol.
16:16 September 10, 2012 by Cancerklubben
10-20 million SEK is nothing. Just the Cancerfonden has been wasting more than that supporting research that are very difficult to find a link with cancer.

The main problem in Sweden seems to be nepotism in the cancer field

Source: cancerklubben.com
16:39 September 10, 2012 by chrisalexthomas
I found this article on the telegraph.co.uk about how a researcher in sweden has a modified virus which can target cancer cells, multiply inside them and explode it and infect the other cancer cells, repeating the process. It sounds awesome! steve jobs died from the pancreatic version of this cancer.

I think it would be awesome to raise awareness that for 2 years a potential cure or delaying factor has sat in a fridge and done nothing because the guy can't raise a single million euros.

a million euros??? don't they pay bankers less than that for a yearly bonus??? it's pathetic how bad this world is where you can get a million for being a cog in a corrupt system, but a cure which affects millions has trouble raising a few thousand....

https://www.facebook.com/cure.that.cancer.fundraiser

There are two donation platforms that I can push

the university paypal: http://uu.se/en/support/oncolytic

the unofficial indiegogo: http://indiegogo.com/uppsala-cancer-research
17:39 September 10, 2012 by jr93657
Now the reason why no cure will be available is because we need people to die. It's been in effect since the establishment of the U.S. It is called, "Operation Population Control". It has been know that we are overpopulated around the world. Governments around the world know it. Now each country has its own method of making sure they can keep up with growth. The reason why just a 8-10 years is because it will provide enough time for a solution for a cataclysmic event to kill off people and also stabilize the civilization. According to some events that I have foreseen with others around the world, there will be pretty much a population downsize that will dramatically decrease our numbers very soon. I can't say when and how because it would flag me, but trust me the government has a plan. I think the only safe places from what I can tell is Canada and Russia.

-U.S. Valkyrie
18:37 September 10, 2012 by Svensksmith
Have you been reading Codsh1t again?
15:41 September 13, 2012 by tigger007
Cancer isn't a sickness that is by chance it's do to man's diet! Most sickness come from the lack of a proper diet!!!Eating seeds and nuts helps with heart and other organs good heath.Man wasn't meant to eat all the proceessed food we eat today fast food and other unhealty foods.Look at this you will be shocked! A World Without Cancer — the Story of Vitamin B-17 by G. Edward Griffin(go to youtube)
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