Week 132: The Anticancer Fund and drug repurposing

Written by Lars Haakon Soraas

Week 132 in the war on cancer has passed. There is not much to report. Dyanne is in good shape and that is pretty much it. It is the way we want it 🙂

As we don’t have much to share about our situation, I wanted to bring attention to an organization that does some great, and important work for cancer patients worldwide. The organization is The Anticancer Fund and they are based in Brussels. It is run by a small team, perhaps 20 people, of passionate cancer warriors. What makes them special, however, is that they have a great strategy. Their focus is to support research on old drugs which have shown promising effects against cancer. Perhaps surprising to many (including us when we first learned about this field) is that many old drugs which are currently used for other diseases may also be effective anticancer agents. Given that these drugs already exist in our pharmacies and have well-known side effects, one would think that there would be a rush to do research on these drugs so that they can be proven safe and, hopefully, effective in treating cancer patients. There is a problem, however. The problem is that these drugs are not anymore protected by patents. And since they are not protected by patents, they are very cheap. And since they are so cheap, there is no money to be made for anyone who proves that these drugs can prolong the life of cancer patients. And since there is no money in it, the research that is necessary simply does not happen. The trials that need to get run never gets funded.

This is the problem that The Anticancer Fund wants to overcome. They are doing this by lobbying to change the regulation that covers these drugs. And they are supporting and funding trials that aim to prove that some of these old drugs are both safe and effective for cancer patients.

For these reasons, I was very happy to be able to contribute to a video that they recently made in connection with a roundtable event at the EU parliament. It is a short video that explains the rationale for the work they do. You can see it here: https://www.anticancerfund.org/roundtable-european-parliament. If you are convinced that they are doing good and important work, you can find out more about how you can help them achieve their goals on this link: https://www.anticancerfund.org/support-us.

Finally, I am hoping to go to a lung cancer immunotherapy conference organized in Madrid on 22-24th March. If you or someone you care for has lung cancer, it is probably one of the best places to learn about the latest developments in immunotherapy that are relevant for lung cancer. The conference is free to attend for patients and patient advocates. Here is more information: https://www.iaslc.org/events/iaslc-lung-cancer-immunotherapy-meeting-2018-lci18.

Have a great Sunday evening everyone!

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