Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cancer campaign man's £50m target

David Longman wants to raise £50m to fund research into the treatment

A Cambridgeshire man is hoping to raise £50m to develop a cancer treatment which saved his daughter's life.

David Longman, from Hemingford Abbots, wants to help fund research trials for Photodynamic Therapy (PDT).

He came across PDT five years ago when his eldest daughter had a tumour which was destroyed by the treatment.

PDT uses laser, or other light sources, combined with a light-sensitive drug (sometimes called a photosensitising agent) to destroy cancer cells.

Simple treatment

Mr Longman, who is starting the campaign Killing Cancer in the autumn, said: "PDT is a very quick and simple treatment without the side-effects patients experience with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

"For patients who might otherwise have devastating surgery, PDT represents a very positive set of benefits to the patients.

"But for years funding for its development has been ignored by the major charitable funders."

PDT is currently approved for use to treat head and neck cancer, skin cancer, cancer in the lungs and the oesophagus.

Mr Longman wants PDT to be tested on brain tumours, throat cancer, lung cancer, bladder and colon cancer, Crohn's disease and liver tumours, cervical and vulval cancer, penile and prostate cancer.

'Changing cancer world'

He also wants PDT to be used to treat MRSA and as an alternative to a hysterectomy.

Mr Longman gave up his career in a bid to achieve "international recognition" for the treatment.

He said: "When we launch the campaign... I know we are going to completely change the cancer world.

"We are going to put the power of choice into the hands of the public, and we will raise the funds we need to develop the trials."

He added that hospitals in the UK and the USA were lined up to start the research, starting with PDT for breast cancer in London and Boston, US.