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Initiator of the Oncolytic Virus Fund visits Uppsala

7 September 2012

Professor Magnus Essand and Alexander Masters.

Professor Magnus Essand and Alexander Masters.

Alexander Masters, the author and journalist who helped initiate the Oncolytic Virus Fund, visited Uppsala 7 September to meet Professor Magnus Essand.

Alexander Masters’ article in The Telegraph last week was the starting point for a new fundraising initiative at Uppsala University, The Oncolytic Virus Fund. The article describes Professor Magnus Essand’s research on cancer-eating viruses and the fact that the research has been on hold for two years due to insufficient funding.

The story began when Alexander Masters’ friend was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer. In search of a cure, Alexander Masters came across Magnus Essand’s research at Uppsala University. Magnus Essand and his research group has genetically engineered a virus to target and kill neuroendocrine cancer cells, but the virus cannot be used in humans unless it is clinically tested. Tests which are very costly to perform.

Today 7 September, Alexander Masters is visiting Uppsala to meet Professor Magnus Essand and discuss the continued work with the fundraising campaign and the Oncolytic Virus Fund.

‘I didn't expect this much response. The fact that the Financial Times picked up the story really got things going. I think it is such a strong story’, says Alexander Masters.

So far the fund has raised the equivalent of roughly £9,000. The target of the fund is high, at least a million pounds are required to conduct the clinical trials on humans. Anyone who donates that sum will have the virus named in their honour.

‘When we’re working with viruses or modified cells the requirements are so much higher. The national grants are not enough’, says Magnus Essand.


For more information, see this video where Magnus Essand talks about his important research.

Help us spread the word about the Oncolytic Virus Fund by sharing this shorter video.