The best quality of Casper is that he treats his patients in a human way.

- René van der Gijp -

Something has to change drastically. Supporting the body to beat pancreatic cancer itself, I think that is the future.

- Casper van Eijck -

I lost my husband within six weeks because there is no suitable treatment. Casper wants to change that.

- Astrid Joosten -

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My father's illness was terribly short. When I heard about Casper's groundbreaking research, I knew that I wanted to contribute.

- Lars Boele -

I’ve lost my father to this terrible disease. I support Casper so that other people can be spared this pain.

- Ellen Hoog -

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Casper is willing to swim against the current so that he can save lives. I am very impressed with the way he does it.

- Mark van Eeuwen -

I have known Casper since my time at Feijenoord. I am very impressed with his research on innovative treatment of pancreatic cancer.

- Ronald Koeman -

Treatment method

The official name of the research we want to fund with this campaign is: oncolytic viro-immunotherapy (OVIT). A therapy in which own healthy cells are activated and used against the malignant tumor cells with the help of viruses. Our research team is convinced that this therapy can lead to major breakthroughs in the fight against all forms of cancer that are currently very difficult to treat, such as pancreatic cancer.

Immunotherapy

In the last 20 years, enormous progress has been made in mapping out the complex interactions between the tumor and the immune system. As a result, several new and highly innovative ways have been developed to positively influence the anti-tumor response: immunotherapy. It is a way of 'awakening' and activating our innate and acquired immune responses, so that early cancer growth can be eliminated or at least contained by healthy cells. In other forms of cancer, this therapy has already proven to improve the survival rate of patients with aggressive tumors (melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer), with the result that various treatments have now been approved for use in patients.

Virotherapy

The use of viruses seems to be a promising new technique for treating a wide range of tumors. The idea is that viruses that are introduced into the patient can selectively only infect the cancer cells and thus spare the surrounding healthy cells. To make the viruses even more effective, they can be adapted in the laboratory in such a way that they can even attack specific types of tumor cells. After infection of the cancer cells, they can then also produce certain substances that destroy the cancer cells.

For a number of cancers, advanced research into this type of treatment is already done. Casper and his colleagues are eager to do the same for pancreatic cancer. A start has now been made on research into various viruses, including the Newcastle disease virus. This virus has already been tested in several clinical trials (phases 1 and 2) and shows promising results without giving serious side effects. However, these same studies also show that the effectiveness of the virus still needs to be improved considerably. It is a challenge to thoroughly map this out and to investigate how viruses can on the one hand best kill tumor cells and on the other hand stimulate the immune system to clean up killed tumor cells.

The properties of the different viruses must therefore be further optimized, after which more tests are required with the pancreatic cancer cells. Finally, it is also very important to look at the safety of virus administration, not only for the patient, but also for his immediate environment and animals. Further improvement of the viruses in combination with immunotherapy should eventually be able to offer a solution for people with pancreatic cancer.

Review on OVs armed with immune modulators

Review J. de Graaf

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