The Oncolytic Virus Fund
Virus in the service of humanity
The Oncolytic Virus Fund was started to support research on a new approach to treating neuroendocrine cancer. Over the last 30 years, the number of people diagnosed with such cancers has increased fivefold. Public awareness of this form of cancer spread when the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, died of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.
Since 2008, Uppsala researcher Magnus Essand and his research team at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology have been working on a completely new approach to treating neuroendocrine tumours. The treatment consists of an oncolytic virus, which has turned out to be remarkably effective in destroying neuroendocrine tumours in mice.
Oncolytic viruses occur naturally but can also be produced by genetic modification. They infect and reproduce in cancer cells, which they ultimately burst, releasing large quantities of new viruses. These in turn can infect nearby cancer cells.
- Watch a film in which Magnus Essand talks about his research
- More about Magnus Essand’s research
- About oncolytic virus therapy
Support the world’s first clinical study of a genetically modified virus against neuroendocrine cancer
Like other virus therapies developed around the world, the oncolytic virus is expected to be safe and have few side-effects for human patients. To find out whether the new treatment is as effective in human patients as it is in mice, it needs to be thoroughly tested in clinical trials. The research is expensive and financial support is needed to make the necessary clinical studies possible.
Thanks to donations from thousands of people, including a gift of two million Swiss francs from the late entrepreneur Vince Hamilton, the Oncolytic Virus Fund has collected sufficient funds to allow Professor Essand and his team to start the world’s first clinical trial using an oncolytic virus to treat neuroendocrine tumours. The virus therapy has been named AdVince, in recognition of Vince Hamilton’s commitment and his strong support for this research.
However, the research still needs further support. All financial contributions will be used for research on virus therapies for neuroendocrine tumours.
Ways to Donate
- US tax payers can donate via American Friends of Uppsala University, making donations tax deductible.
- UK tax payers can donate via the Anglo-Swedish Society, adding 25% to the value of their donation with Gift Aid.
If none of the above apply to you, send your donation by bank transfer or make an online donation below.
Account No: 183797-0
Swift-code (BIC): NDEASESS
Mark your payment: Uppsala University, Project number 462 82 2020 (Magnus Essand)
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Latest news – March 2018:
Report on Phase I/II of the clinical studies So far, five patients are participating in the clinical trial of the AdVince virus. The target is 12 patients, so a further 7 patients are needed. “We are extremely grateful for all the contributions we have received,” says Magnus Essand. “But although we now have sufficient funding to cover the clinical trial, further donations are very important to guarantee that the research can continue.”
Watch a film showing a status report on Phase I/II of the clinical trials
Research progress since the Fund was established in 2012:
August 2012: The discovery at Uppsala University of ‘cancer-eating viruses’ receives attention in the UK The work of the research team on an oncolytic virus receives media attention, notably in a series of articles by journalist Alexander Masters in The Telegraph. Masters’s articles attracted great attention and he also started a crowdfunding campaign in the UK. A fund was established at Uppsala University to benefit continued research and clinical tests.
June 2013: Donation enables clinical trial of new cancer treatment Uppsala University receives a donation of SEK 14 million from entrepreneur Vince Hamilton for research on the virus therapy for neuroendocrine tumours. This enables planning to begin for the world’s first human study. Watch a film featuring Magnus Essand and Vince Hamilton
January 2016: Green light for clinical trial The Swedish Medical Products Agency and the Regional Ethical Review Board in Uppsala give the green light for a clinical trial of an oncolytic virus. This will be the world’s first clinical study of a genetically modified virus that specifically attacks neuroendocrine tumours. The virus therapy is named AdVince, in recognition of Vince Hamilton’s commitment and his strong support for this research.
“Our first patient has just signed up for the therapy and more will gradually be able to receive treatment. The first 12 patients will take part in a Phase I study in which the dose is gradually increased to see whether there are any side-effects. When we have established a tolerable dose, further patients will be treated in a Phase IIa study, in which the main purpose will be to look at treatment effects,” says Magnus Essand.
The actual treatment will take place at Uppsala University Hospital, under the direction of Dr Kjell Öberg, Professor Emeritus of Oncological Endocrinology at Uppsala University.
Watch a film of Magnus Essand, Justyna Leja-Jarblad and Kjell Öberg.(Updated December 2016.)