Cancer Immunotherapy For A Cure

Thank you for visiting the fundraising page of the Piesche lab!

The ultimate goal of this crowdfunding campaign is to bring the proposed immunotherapy research into a clinical trial to find better treatments for cancer patients. Your support is key to reach this goal and will provide an invaluable resource to the fight against cancer. Any support you can provide would be outstanding and is truly appreciated.
You want to support the immunotherapy research, but you are not able to do so financially? Make some noise and share this page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites. And please ask others to share it as well so that it can reach as many people as possible. That would be awesome!

NEW   ---> We are now also accepting Bitcoins and donations via Paypal. More info below!

If you want to know more about me and my professional background, please have a look at linkedin. You can also follow me on twitter. And if you are interested, I created a cancer immunotherapy support group on facebook where we share newest research and clinical trials, but also help each other talking about side effects and other questions that can come with immunotherapy.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like more details about the project.

Thank you so much for your generosity!

Keywords: lmmunotherapy, lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, brain cancer, vaccine, novel cancer treatment, bioengineering, precision medicine, patient-specific

1. What is it about?
2. Who I am.
3. Why the novel cancer treatment strategy is superior.
4. The problem of funding the research and the consequences.
5. How you can help and what is your reward.
6. First results.
7. Details of (A) standard treatment and (B) novel research strategy.
8. Time line, budget plan, and future plans (translatability to other types of cancer).
9. Risks and challenges.
10. Benefits of quitting smoking and stopping the use of tanning beds.
11. Alternative way to donate (Bitcoin).
12. Other ways you can help.

1. What is it about?
There were an estimated 14.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2012. This number is expected to increase to 24 million by 2035.
About 232,000 new cases of the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, were diagnosed worldwide in 2012. Another 1.8 million people were diagnosed world wide with lung cancer (2012) with an overall 5 year survival rate of just 18%. About 1.7 million new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed in women for 2012. For women, besides lung cancer, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer. Cancer still needs a cure, too many people die because of it and survival rates have generally little improved. 
New strategies to enhance the responses to these drugs are therefore greatly needed and hugely overdue and you can help to make the difference by supporting immunotherapy research.

2. Who I am.
My name is Matthias Piesche. I am a scientist from Germany and former research fellow from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School, currently working as Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of Maule, Talca, Chile. My expertise is cancer immunology and I am dedicated to help to find new cures for cancer in one of the most promising areas of cancer research; in effect, how to activate our own immune system to fight cancer so that more patients will survive.

3. Why the novel cancer treatment strategy is superior.
The novel treatment strategy is superior and unique compared to current therapies because it will combine current treatments with a very specific cancer immunotherapy. This combined therapy functions similar to a vaccine: An individual's immune system gets stimulated to develop immunity to its cancer cells with the result that more cancer patients will survive their cancer. The advantage is that the patients own cancer cells are used as vaccine resulting in a high precision medicine that is personalized to the patients need and that creates a long-term immunological memory.
Compared to other vaccine strategies, this novel treatment idea can be performed directly through injecting the compound and without the need of isolating the patients tumor cells or immune cells. It also recognizes all mutated proteins ("neoantigens", compared to other vaccines that only provide few cancer targets) of the patients cancer, reducing the potential of a relapse. Additionally, this treatment strategy can be combined with other cancer therapies (e.g., checkpoint inhibitors, targeted therapies like the BRAF inhibitors for melanoma or the EGFR inhibitors for lung cancer), resulting in a more powerful treatment efficacy of these therapies.

4. The problem of funding the research and the consequences.
It is difficult to get support through the federal funding agencies since the budget has seen a 25 percent reduction in overall funding over the last decade.  Therefore, a brilliant idea is sometimes not enough to get funded that, in consequence, will be delayed or in the worst case will never be developed. Fortunately, there are people who believe and trust in good ideas and that is the reason why I am seeking your support because together we can make the difference to help cancer patients. 
For my part, I started a new position last year at the Catholic University of Maule (UCM), Talca, Chile. I got the possibility to work in an extra-ordinary research facility that enables me to conduct all the research. Additionally, I won a small research grant ($10,000) from PMI Oncologia that enabled me to start the first experiments.

5. First results. With your help I was able to start the research. We created the compound and showed that it can specifically recognize the target.  In the next step we will analyze the potency of the compound to activate immune cells.

6. How you can help and what is your reward.
I designed several milestones to evaluate the novel treatment strategy. Your donation will help to achieve the final goal to find a better cancer treatment. The goal of this campaign is to raise $15.000 which is sufficient to reach the first 3 milestones. The results will give important information about a novel method of creating such a compound against cancer targets which can be used to apply for further funding at national, international, and private funding agencies. With your support you will also give hope to patients that innovative research can be initiated to find new and better treatments that have the potential to lead to a cure and which are not dependent on federal grant money (and therefore will not be delayed or never developed because of missing funding).
Additionally, if you always have been fascinated about science and you want to know more about research and how a novel research project will be developed, this is your time to get inside information. Just choose one of the following 5 reward levels that interest you most:

Thank you rewards for your generous donation!
EUR 5 (Bronze): You will receive a personal thank you email
EUR 70 (Silver): Once the research is published I will send you an electronic pdf of this publication (please leave your email).
EUR 150 (Gold): You will receive a Tshirt with the logo of the lab  (please leave your email, more about the shirt:
EUR 500 (Platinum): Have an exclusive 1 hour Skype chat with me. Need help with your science homework or just have a burning question? Now is your time to chat with me.
EUR 3500 (Diamond): For this contribution you will be exclusively acknowledged in the next publication about this project. A great opportunity to tie your name to the cancer research forever! (Max. 5 available).

7. Details of (A) standard treatment and (B) novel research strategy.
The two figures that are shown below summarize (A) the traditional treatment and (B) the new treatment strategy that combines the traditional treatment with a specific cancer immunotherapy. Below the figures you will find a detailed explanation.

How does a tumor evolve? Usually, it takes several steps before a healthy cell eventually becomes a tumor cell. Exposures to UV light during sun bathing or smoking are two of the most prominent causes. A healthy cell changes, becomes tumorigenic, and starts to grow uncontrolled. Finally, the tumor becomes so big that doctors can detect it. Standard therapies like chemo- or radiation therapy aim to trigger cell death in all tumor cells but sparing the healthy tissue. The "regulated" cell death, called apoptosis, is a normal part of our daily lives (every day more than 200 billion cells undergo apoptosis in a human body). With this mechanism, the body has the ability to eliminate cells that are no longer required. Specific cells of the immune system, so called macrophages (“big eaters”), are then responsible to engulf the dead cells. Usually, this is a good thing because you want to remove the dead cells before they accumulate and poison the body. However, this process is inhibiting the immune system, because dead cells are generally not dangerous and you don’t want to activate the immune cells because an overactivation of immune cells can harm the body. On the other hand, most of the time the available cancer treatments are not able to kill all tumor cells. Some of the tumor cells are resistant. With today’s instrumentations it is impossible to detect remaining tumor cells that are low in number, however, they are still there. Maybe these resistant tumor cells are weakened by the therapy, dormant for months, or even years, but they have the potential to reawake and grow again. To eliminate these tumor cells it is important to activate the immune cells, because through the inhibition, the immune cells don’t realize the danger and therefore are unable to attack the remaining tumor cells. The consequence is that the tumor can grow again. At this time, the tumor cells are resistant to the previous treatment.

However, what happens if you can reverse the inhibitory effect during the engulfment of the dying tumor cells? Instead of inhibiting the immune cells they will be activated to recognize and kill the remaining tumor cells!

Let’s have a closer look at figure (B).

(B) As prescribed for (A), the tumor grows until the doctor is able to recognize it. The following treatment will kill most of the tumor cells. However, this time the standard treatment will be combined with a specific compound that we created that recognizes dying tumor cells. That compound is specifically tailored to the target and can activate the immune system without having off-target side effects. The arriving macrophages (“big eaters”) will engulf the dying tumor cells - but this time, the dying tumor cells are labeled with the compound. Therefore, the “big eaters” recognize the tumor cells as dangerous and activate other immune cells.  In turn, these activated immune cells can now recognize the remaining tumor cells and are able to kill them. This novel treatment also creates a long-term immunological memory against the patients tumor, reducing the possibility of a cancer relapse.

In conclusion, the novel cancer treatment will lead to a strong long lasting anti-tumor response with the result that more cancer patients will survive.

8. Time line, spending, and future plans (translatability to other types of cancer):
Milestone 1: 1-5 months
Creating the compound  against the target (~7.000 EUR) --> SUCCESSFUL
Milestone 2: 3-9 months
Evaluating the compound on the capacity of binding the target (~8.000 EUR) --> IN PROGRESS
Milestone 3: 6-30 months
Testing the compound in different experiments for efficiency of engulfing dying tumor cells through macrophages and activation of immune cells. As start I will analyze tumor cells from melanoma, lung cancer, and breast cancer (~15.000 EUR). --> STARTED
Milestone 4: >30 months
Publishing the results in an open access scientific journal and applying for research grants to analyze the compound in pre-clinical models
Milestone 5: Final goal
Evaluating the efficiency of the compound in cancer patients in clinical trials. Based on this research, patients that get treated with the novel treatment strategy will have a much better chance to beat their cancer.
Milestone 6: Potential combination with other treatment options and translatability to other cancer
The novel treatment strategy will be evaluated in combination with other cancer treatment options (e.g., checkpoint inhibitors, targeted therapies, ...). It can also be combined with other tumor therapies for leukemia, colon cancer, prostate cancer, brain tumors, and other tumors. After the compound has been shown its potential for melanoma, breast cancer, and lung cancer therapy, the novel treatment strategy will be evaluated in other tumors.

The money will be spent solely for laboratory expenses (e.g., chemicals, cell culture, plasticware). The results will be published in an open access journal that everybody has the possibility to read, because this research is only possible with your generous donations. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you would like more details about the project.

9. Risks & Challenges.
The greatest challenge is to secure funding to help research progress. It is also important to note that while the research is based on sound scientific principles, the science of life can be very complex and no guarantee can be offered that the research will end with an approved therapy. Without your help, though, we may never find out.

10. Benefits of quitting smoking and stopping the use of tanning beds.
Do you plan to quit smoking or to stop using tanning beds? Great! You will save a lot of money and do something really good for your health - preventing major causes of melanoma and lung cancer . And if you donate the money of the first cigarette package that you don't buy or the first 15 minutes for the tanning bed you don't use, you will also help cancer patients by finding a better cancer treatment. Any donation will bring us closer to reaching the goal of a better cancer therapy and you can be a part of it!

11. Alternative way to donate.
Do you wish to donate directly? Please contact me through the message link (below updates at organizer), linkedin or facebook and we can discuss an alternative way.

Donations via Paypal: 

Now you can also donate bitcoins (for other cryptocurrencies please ask).
Please scan the QR code below or copy the wallet address:      3Jh1QpqMeTPqw5EtQu6sEboM4p2AohXRpX 

12. Other Ways You Can Help.
Not able to make a donation? That's okay. If you believe in my mission you can still help by spreading the word on your social media.

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Matthias Piesche 
Bergisch Gladbach
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