Professor Magnus Essand is behind a global campaign to fund research into a potential treatment, currently stored in a freezer in Sweden, for the cancer that killed Apple founder Steve Jobs

Professor Magnus Essand with the treatment in Sweden
Professor Magnus Essand with the treatment in Sweden

What is it? 

A number of fundraisers have come together to launch a crowdfunding campaign called iCancer. They intend to raise money for the testing of a treatment for neuroendocrine tumours (NET). Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, died from this type of cancer a year ago today. The campaign launch coincides with the first anniversary of his death.

The potential therapy, a cancer-busting virus that could significantly extend the lives of patients with the same cancer as Steve Jobs, is currently sitting in a freezer in Sweden – but it can’t be tested on humans for lack of £2m. The money will allow a big pharmaceuticals company to take it over, test it, patent it, bring it to full-scale development and make a profit.

What is the team doing?

Using guerilla marketing tactics, the iCancer team is appealing to people to raise the money using Twitter and Facebook. There are no overheads – the money goes directly to the research project. It is appealing for a small, one-off donations of £2 from a million people.

A video has been created to explain what the team is doing and can be viewed on the campaign website.

Watch the video:


What can the public do?

To support the campaign, the public is being encouraged to follow @iCancer on Twitter and tweet details about the campaign using #iCancer. They can donate £2 using links to the crowdsourcing site from the Twitter feed, the Facebook page and YouTube.

Who is behind the campaign? 

The campaign is being led by the author Alexander Masters and the journalist Dominic Nutt, who has the same cancer as Jobs. The Swedish research team behind the treatment is led by Professor Magnus Essand.

What are NET cancers?

NETs are cancers of the neuroendocrine system, incorporating glands that produce insulin, adrenalin and the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. They can appear all over the body. Recent research shows that in the past 35 years the diagnosis rate has increased fivefold.

Third Sector verdict:

The campaign is clever to capitalise on the anniversary of Steve Jobs's death, which is bound to attract a lot of coverage on social media networks. The £2 donation, the price of many apps, is a small amount that will seem manageable to people considering donating. The success of this campaign might also lead to more of this type of crowdsourced fundraising.

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