The Oncolytic Virus Fund

Help us develop a new cancer treatment

Professor Magnus Essand and Justyna Leja at Uppsala University have since 2008 developed and tested a potential new treatment against neuroendocrine tumours. The treatment consists of an oncolytic virus, which has turned out to be remarkably efficient in destroying neuroendocrine tumours in mice.

Thanks to donations from thousands of people, including a large donation of two million Swiss francs from the now deceased entrepreneur Vince Hamilton, the Oncolytic Virus Fund has collected enough money for Professor Magnus Essand and his research group to start work with clinical trials. They will be the world’s first clinical trials of a virus treatment specifically engineered to target neuroendocrine tumours. The virus treatment has been named AdVince to recognize Vince Hamilton’s commitment and strong support for this research.

While the project now has sufficient funding to cover clinical trials, further donations are vital to keep the research moving forward. All contributions will be acknowledged in scientific publications and in association with the clinical trial.

We kindly ask for your support.

Professor Magnus Essand Justyna Leja Kjell Öberg
Magnus Essand,
Professor of Gene Therapy
Justyna Leja,
PhD, Post doc
Kjell Öberg,
MD, PhD, Professor in Endocrine Oncology

Ways to Donate

If none of the above apply to you, send your donation by bank transfer or make an online donation below.

Bank transfer:
Bank: Nordea
Account No: 183797-0
Swift-code (BIC): NDEASESS
IBAN: SE4895000099604201837970

Mark your payment: Uppsala University, Project number 462 82 2020 (Magnus Essand)

Donate online

Donate directly to the Oncolytic Virus Fund online using your credit card. Enter the amount you wish to donate and choose your currency.

Current status

  • The virus treatment has been named AdVince after Vince Hamilton, whose large donation has made clinical trials possible.
  • The virus to be used in the clinical trials has been produced and tested.
  • The clinical protocol and other docmuentation is being finalised.
  • The formal application to the Swedish Medical Product Agency will hopefully be handed in before the end of 2014.
  • The clinical trials will hopefully start in spring 2015, but the exact timing depends on the Swedish Medical Product Agency’s response to the researchers application.
  • The clinical trial will start with dose escalation to ensure that the treatment is safe. Four different dosages will be tested. Three to six patients will be tested for each dosage.

(Updated November 2014.)

Background

What is an oncolytic virus?

Oncolytic viruses are naturally occurring or genetically engineered viruses that infect and reproduce inside tumour cells, finally bursting the cells and releasing large numbers of progeny. These can in turn infect neighbouring tumour cells. Oncolytic viruses are sometimes called cancer-eating viruses.

What is neuroendocrine cancer?

Neuroendocrine cells are dispersed throughout the body. They receive neurotransmitters released by nerve cells and respond by secreting hormones into the blood, thereby bridging the nerve system to the neuroendocrine system. Neuroendocrine tumours arise from neuroendocrine cells. During the last 30 years the number of people diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer has increased fivefold. The cancer form became more well-known to the public when Apple’s Steve Jobs died from neuroendocrine cancer of the pancreas.

What is the purpose of the Oncolytic Virus Fund?

All donations will be used for further research on virus treatments of neuroendocrine tumours. With your help we will carry out a clinical trial with our virus.

Does the treatment work on humans?

Like other virus treatments for cancer that are in development around the world, this virus is predicted to be safe and have few side-effects in humans. To find out if the new treatment is as efficient in humans as it has been in mice it must be tested thoroughly in clinical trials. These will be organized by Professor Kjell Öberg, the current Chairman of the European Neuroendocrine Tumour Society.

How long will the clinical trials take?

Once we have sufficient funding to set up a clinical trial it will take approximately 24 months before the phase I clinical trial can start. This time is needed to produce and test the clinical grade virus batch and to get licenses from authorities and ethical committees. The clinical trial itself can then be completed in 6–12 months. If successful, this will be followed by phase II and phase III clinical trials with more and more patients included. A final cancer medicine is many years away.

More information

For more information about professor Magnus Essand’s research, see the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.

Uppsala University and the University Hospital is a Centre of Excellence for research into neuroendocrine cancer.

Alexander Masters’ article in The Telegraph was an important inspiration when the Oncolytic Virus Fund was set up.

Contact

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Magnus Essand for scientific questions or Thomas Fredengren for questions about your donation.

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