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Queen's University launches crowd funding platform for cancer research

Dr Suzanne McPherson joins Professor Ken Mills both from Cancer Research and Cell Biology Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast
Andrew Madden

THE public is being invited to help fund research projects aimed at curing cancer though a new crowd funding platform.

The campaign has been set up by Professor Ken Mills of the Cancer Research and Cell Biology Centre at Queen's University, Belfast.

Crowd funding website ResearchFunderNI is hosting eight researching campaigns, hoping to raise up to £100,000.

The projects hoping to get funded by the public range from raising money for a freezer to hold test samples to research into predicting the response to chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer.

In exchange for donations the public will receive rewards, such as invitations to Cancer Focus NI events and lab tours.

Professor Mills explained that funding for smaller projects is difficult to obtain, but that larger research projects rely on smaller projects in order to provide them with the vital data they need to proceed. He hopes that new technology can help overcome this problem.

“One of the barriers to cancer research is that the large scale research projects often rely on data obtained for pilots,” he said.

“Funding for small-scale projects can be difficult to obtain and that’s why we’re using technology to create a platform in essence to digitally disrupt how funding for early stage cancer research is sourced. We estimate that such funding could accelerate the speed at which new cancer drugs could be used in clinics by up to 12 years.”

Dr Jonathan Coulter is hoping to raise £25,000 to develop his idea of using gold particles during radiotherapy to increase the effectiveness of targeting and killing prostrate cancer stem cells.

“Almost 30 per cent of patients with locally advanced prostate cancer will develop progressive disease with limited treatment options,” he said.

“The research aims to prove the increased curability of particular prostate cancer. By crowdsourcing the funding it will mean that we can act faster and deliver results more quickly.”

ResearchFunderNI is a brand new platform and hopes to make these eight research projects the first of many successful funding campaigns.

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