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Lampidis News

2-DG Advances its Case as Most Promising Cancer Cure

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As we embark on another year where cancer is expected to surpass heart disease as the number one death-causing disease in numerous states in America including Florida, it becomes imperative to find more effective and less toxic treatments. Just last week, President Obama designated Vice President Biden to spearhead “Moonshot” – yet another program dedicated to curing cancer.

It is difficult to believe and accept that the sugar analog 2-deoxy-D-glucose, better known as 2-DG, still is not approved for clinical use. We and many others have shown 2-DG to be much less toxic than standard chemotherapy, and have proven it to be more effective against a broader range of tumors than any other known treatment. We have set the clinical groundwork for 2-DG to help cancer patients by successfully completing an FDA-approved Phase I Clinical Trial, but without further pre-clinical work to bring it through the required subsequent trials it will remain stalled in development.

Last year, several laboratories reported on the unique effectiveness of 2-DG in cancers where it has not been tried before. A recent example is a report titled Antileukemic Activity of 2-Deoxy-d-Glucose Through Inhibition of N-Linked Glycosylation in Acute Myeloid Leukemia with FLT3-ITD or c-KIT Mutations (published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, October 6, 2015). AML is a particularly deadly form of leukemia that not only affects adults but now has become the second most common cancer in children.

In collaboration with three other labs this past year alone, we have reported on the effectiveness of 2-DG in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) as well as rhabdomyosarcomas – both cancers that afflict children as well as adults. Moreover, in addition to its direct effect on these types of tumor cells, we have shown that 2-DG also acts as an anti-angiogenic drug – shutting down the blood supply required for a tumor to grow and survive

The evidence for using 2-DG to treat cancer is growing year by year. And yet it remains mired in academic medicine. 2-DG can’t be patented. Therefore pharma companies can’t make money out of it. No profit means no interest from industry. The only barrier preventing 2-DG from progressing through the next phase of clinical trials is funding. That’s why we are relying on the general public to bring this pioneering treatment protocol to patients.

Learn more or donate now at lampidisfoundation.org.

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It’s really very simple

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It’s really very simple. The high rate of mutation giving rise to too many different types of cancer cells in a growing tumor has made it nearly impossible for so-called “tailored” or “targeted” therapy to succeed. Billions of dollars have been spent so far using this approach with modest to little benefit to most cancer patients treated.

So why not come up with a new strategy that is based on a more rational approach?

For more than 30 years the results from literally millions of PET scans has shown us that tumors take up more glucose than normal surrounding tissues. But only more recently has the reason for this increased glucose uptake in tumors become known.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly when one thinks about it, the same genes that are driving cancer (oncogenes) have been found to be responsible for directing a cancer cell to take up more glucose.

Using sophisticated techniques such as NMR and Mass Spec it has been shown that the glucose molecule is not only a vital energy source but provides the building blocks required for a cell to replicate.

Thus, increased glucose metabolism is the universal trait that investigators have long been seeking in their quest to find a feature common to all cancer cells regardless of their tissue origin or genetic (oncogene) profile.

Our approach, therefore, using the analog of glucose, 2-deoxy-D-glucose , better known as 2-DG, takes advantage of this natural window of selectivity that increased glucose uptake provides in cancer vs. normal cells.

We have provided proof of principle that 2-DG works in many different tumor cell types when grown in the lab in vitro (in dishes) and have advanced our ideas in vivo (in tumor animal models). Our results have taken 2-DG all the way up to and including completion of an FDA-approved Phase I human clinical trial.

So why isn’t this universal treatment for cancer not already helping cancer patients suffering from this devastating disease world-wide?

There are many answers to that question, but the major obstacle that has slowed the development of 2-DG is that it is not patentable.

Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry is not interested in providing the financial resources required to put it through the next phase of clinical trials needed to make 2-DG a frontline treatment.

Other obstacles, less obvious but perhaps equally important, preventing 2-DG from reaching patients are the unwillingness of those in control of funds to devote the resources to treatments that they are either not part of or, for personal or political reasons, are against.

Although our lab and this work has attracted and been awarded National Institutes of Health Grants for more than 20 years, the funding from these sources is dwindling and we have therefore turned to philanthropy to get us to the next step. So please take a moment to explore our website further to learn more about our work and to see why we are asking you to join us in helping bring this universal treatment to benefit cancer patients world-wide.

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More Positive Results That 2-DG Is Effective Against Cancer

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A new paper by a well-respected research scientist has just been published today in an equally well-respected journal (PLoS ONE), adding to the overwhelming case for 2-DG to be used as a universal treatment for cancer. In this article, the investigators demonstrate that by delivering 2-DG chronically in the diet, a lethal form of cancer, Ehrlich’s Ascites tumor, can be inhibited in mice.

There is now more than enough third-party evidence to back up the results from the Lampidis Lab, which itself has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications on the mechanisms by which 2-DG exerts its remarkably selective effects on a wide variety of cancer types. We are confident that we are indeed on the right track, and must redouble our efforts to overcome the obstacles of enabling 2-DG to be used to treat cancer patients world-wide.

It has become quite clear that because 2-DG has such widespread application in so many different cancer types, regardless of their tissue of origin as well as their oncogenic profile, the pharmaceutical industry is not interested in seeing this universal cancer treatment progress from the Phase I human clinical trials we have been through. Unfortunately, since no-one owns the compositional patent rights to this drug, there is little monetary incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to provide the financial resources required to bring 2-DG through the next phases of human trials to make it available as a frontline anti-cancer agent.

I firmly believe that the biochemical laws behind why 2-DG is a universal, relatively non-toxic treatment for cancer, are as solid as those physical laws responsible for gravity. There is an axiom in science that most of us live by and want to believe: “The truth will prevail”. Our hope is that one day this will apply to 2-DG finally being approved for patient use.

Hopefully, with the help of those reading this blog and reaching out to friends, associates and relatives to join us, the day that 2-DG can be made available to treat the millions that are now suffering from this devastating disease will come sooner rather than later.

Here’s a link to the research publication: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26135741

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“Yepremian’s Lament” 1973 . . . Farewell Garo 2015

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Garo Yepremian, the Miami Dolphins’ kicker during their glory years in the 1970s, left us on Friday aged 70 after a year-long battle with cancer. Garo for those of you who don’t know, or remember, was the Dolphins’ kicker extraordinaire from 1970 through 1978 and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1970s. Three times, he led the league in field-goal accuracy.

As great a kicker as he was, he will still be remembered for his infamous play at the end of the magical season of 1972. Garo was his team’s leading scorer during that year as the Dolphins took a 16-0 record into the Super Bowl against the Washington Redskins. With just over two minutes left, in the game that would complete a perfect season, and the Dolphins leading 14-0, he was sent in to attempt a field goal.

What happened next will always be associated with one word, Garo. As he attempted the field goal it was blocked by the Redskins’ Bill Brundige. In his desire to make up for the blocked kick, Garo picked the ball up and tried to pass it. But he was not privy to asking for the ball to be deflated enough so his hand could fit well enough around it, and as a result it slipped out. He tried to bat the ball out of bounds, but instead it ended up in the hands of the Redskins’ Mike Bass, who ran 49 yards for a touchdown.

Garo was reprieved as the Dolphins hung on to win, 14-7, completing the only undefeated season in NFL history, but his attempted pass was already legendary.

Sometime in February 1973, after writing the song “Yepremian’s Lament” and getting ready to send it to Garo, I wrote the following:

Dear Garo – I’m a graduate student at the University of Miami in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and an avid Dolphins fan. After watching the Super Bowl and seeing the aftermath of your blocked field goal, I wrote the following song and would like you to consider recording it (as I knew he could sing when I heard him imitate Louis Armstrong on the radio):

“Yepremian’s Lament”
The greatest day has come for me to play
I guess my life’s been headed for this day
The pressure’s building slowly every play
I don’t’ know just what I’ll do
I can’t wait until it’s through
 
The half has come and gone, I’ve had little to do
If things stay like they are the game will be through
Won’t get my chance to show what I can do
I’m afraid I won’t get called
I shouldn’t worry or I‘ll go bald
 
The game is ending and I hear him calling
He says “Garo, get ready to go in,
We need three points now and the game is over
And your kick will assure us of this win”
 
Here comes the call, my leg is ready and I rip into the ball
I lift my head, to find the football rolling back to me instead
It’s clear to me, there’ll be no three, I’ve got the ball I’ll go for it all
Someone’s in the clear, I’ll throw it there,
Oh God! My hand was too small…
 
I’ll never know, what made me throw, I feel so low, I wanna hide
The game’s too long, I have done wrong,
They’re laughing on the other side
 
It is not wise at this time to return to the bench
Too many big boys around with their fists in a clench
I’ll have to find a good place to dig a trench
I must kneel and I must pray for a win to end this day!
 

After the game, Dolphins fans could all laugh at what happened since the Dolphins won and the perfect season was kept intact. The song was a parody of what happened and Garo liked it and had his brother Krikor (his manager) contact me to “make a record”. And we did, and Howard Cosell featured it on a one-hour ABC Special featuring the Dolphins’ perfect season.

Along with the recording and lyrics, I wrote to him: “Knowing your personality from interviews after Dolphin’s games, I thought this song would fit you. You are loved by Dolphins fans not only for being a great kicker and helping the Dolphins achieve the perfect season, but also for your humor and kindness. You’re one of those people that others like being around. Always with a smile on your face and with an open heart.”

And on May 17, 2015, two days after his passing, I wrote:

Dear Garo – So now that unfortunately you’ve been taken from us by cancer, going back to the perfect season in 1972 I send you my best thoughts. You will be sorely missed. But if each of us remembers that special kind of happy feeling you brought us when we were around you, or listened to your interviews, then it will make your loss a little easier to bear and in some way keep you with us. I offer my sincere condolences and best thoughts to your family.

A fan always of Garo, the Miami Dolphins Kicker, but even more so, Garo the man.

Ted Lampidis

 

 

Photo courtesy of MiamiDolphins.com

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Lorena Rojas, 44, Actress, Patron, Friend, Loses Her Battle with Cancer

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It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our dear friend Lorena Rojas, who succumbed to her seven-year battle with cancer at the young age of 44. She was a wonderfully talented actress, musician and patron of the arts who graciously supported the Lampidis Cancer Foundation. Her perseverance and dedication in the face of such overwhelming odds made her an inspirational role model to many. It is a great frustration for us at the Foundation that we could not do more to help Lorena recover from her devastating illness. We all owe it to the courageous way she lived to redouble our efforts in bringing our universal cure for cancer to help other sufferers of this deadly disease. We believe that the lives of so many could at the very least be prolonged, if not saved, if only we could overcome the financial hurdles and bring 2-DG to benefit patients worldwide.

Our thoughts are with Lorena’s family at this difficult time, including her boyfriend, Jorge, and beautiful daughter Luciana.

Lorena Rojas 1971-2015: Lorena Rojas was a popular Mexican actress who starred in more than a dozen soap operas. Born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1971, she earned her first acting credits in the early 1990s. Lorena starred in such acclaimed Spanish soaps (known as telenovelas) as El Cuerpo del Deseo, Pecados Ajenos, Alcanzar Una Estrella and, most recently, the series Demente Criminal. She also appeared in films such as Manos Quietas and Aventurera.

In addition, the actress recently wrote and recorded an album of children’s music called Hijos del Sol, which was inspired by her daughter Luciana.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and became an advocate for cancer education in Latino communities. She was a dear friend and supporter of the Lampidis Cancer Foundation since its establishment in 2013. She will be greatly missed, but her spirit and inspiration will forever be guiding us.

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Research Scientists Rely on Crowdfunding as U.S. Spending on Medical Research Declines

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With the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget for medical research dropping by 25 percent in real terms over the last decade, researchers are increasingly looking to crowdsourcing to keep their work going. According to a recent article in Time magazine, the U.S. is losing its edge because of belt-tightening that’s limiting medical innovation. The article quotes Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH: “We have investigators in the U.S. who have great ideas, talent, creativity and energy who are frankly at the point of giving up. That means all the talent and investment they represent is potentially being squandered.” This innovation gap has prompted a number of start-ups operating a crowdfunding model to emerge – raising small amounts of cash from lots of different people rather than a large sum from one. Websites like Experiment, Consano and Give to Cure all help researchers to raise funding for clinical trials that may accelerate new drug discovery.

At the Lampidis Cancer Foundation, we have launched a campaign on crowdfunding site GoFundMe.com to raise funding for essential lab supplies to enable Dr. Lampidis to continue his pioneering work using 2-DG as a universal treatment for cancer. It will require a massive collective effort from all of us to bring this treatment to market, which is why your help and support is so vital. As the Time article graphically illustrates, it will take 250,000 people donating just $20 each to fund our Phase II clinical trial. So think about donating a week’s worth of Starbucks to the cause. Donate today.

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Do you really want to help fight cancer?

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As consumers, we are inundated with messages on a daily basis to help raise money in the name of a cure for cancer. Some 260 nonprofit organizations in the United States alone have dedicated themselves to this cause. Together, they have budgets that exceed $2.2 billion. But the sad reality is that only a fraction of that money ends up going to where it is most needed – to research scientists who have devoted their lives to working on a cure.

One of the largest fundraisers for cancer in the US, according to their latest annual report, spent $75 million on administrative and fundraising costs but only $58m went towards research projects, and only a fraction of that went to actual research for a “cure” – a term they have ironically trademarked. Similarly, another national cancer charity spent a whopping $277 million on salaries and “general fundraising expenses” in 2012. And according to the American Institute of Philanthropy, the CEO of another prominent nonprofit cancer institute was compensated more than $1.4 million in 2013. That’s more than three times what the President is paid to lead the United States!

Organizations like these may have done a great deal to raise awareness about cancer and support cancer sufferers, but only a fraction of the dollars raised in the name of a cure actually find their way to a lab solely focused on that goal.

This is why the Lampidis Cancer Foundation is fundamentally different. As a true nonprofit foundation relying on the goodwill of volunteers to keep Dr. Lampidis’ groundbreaking research moving forward, one hundred percent of funds raised goes towards Dr Lampidis’ research, helping to fund essential laboratory supplies and technical support.

Combine this with the fact that unlike other treatments that are limited to certain cancers, Dr Lampidis offers a universal approach to treating all types of cancer – putting us on the brink of something that could benefit mankind immeasurably.

The current state of medical research has scientists fighting over an ever-decreasing slice of the funding pie. Many brilliant but disillusioned scientists end up throwing in the towel, not because they are lacking in ideas, but because they are constantly having to devote their energy to writing grants to keep their labs running. But history has taught us that it is in a lab like this where the cure for cancer will be born.

So next time you’re walking or running or swimming or jumping and donating your hard earned dollars to a cure for cancer, think about donating it to keep Dr. Lampidis’ groundbreaking work on 2-DG going. Rest assured your entire donation will be put to very good use.

To make a donation, visit http://www.gofundme.com/2-DGtrialforcancer. Alternatively, you can join us at The District Miami on February 5th for our annual fundraising event. Contact alexandra@lampidisfoundation.org for details.

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Lampidis Lab Awarded 2014 Lab of the Year

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It is with great pleasure that I share with Friends of the Lampidis Cancer Foundation the Lab of the Year Award Dr. Lampidis received this week. A rigorous assessment was conducted by the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at the University of Miami, and the award was made in recognition of outstanding performance in compliance and safety practices. Not only does Dr. Lampidis’ lab come up with life-saving discoveries, it is conducted at a safety and environmental level which is worthy of their outstanding work!

Dr. Theodore Lampidis Laboratory located at Pap 124 receiving the award.
Left to right; Melanie Peapell from EHS, Huaping Liu (Sr. Research Associate),
Dr. Lampidis and Lizzeth Meza from EHS.

At the Foundation, we are doubling our efforts to ensure that Dr. Lampidis’ Lab and his groundbreaking cancer research are adequately funded for the remainder of the current fiscal year. We are still some way from our goal of funding 2-DG through Phase 2 clinical trials. Your support and contributions are now needed more than ever.

To make a donation, please click here.

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The Man With the Cure For Cancer?

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Theodore J. Lampidis from Brooklyn is a man of many talents: accomplished musician, songwriter, and stand-up comedian (his friends describe him as a cross between Woody Allen and Billy Crystal). This Harvard educated research scientist is also a Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. And he could just be sitting on one of the holy grails of medicine – a universal cure for cancer.

Dr. Lampidis has published more than 100 research papers in respected scientific journals, but it is his latest review article, The Wonders of 2-DG, which is causing a stir in the scientific community and receiving rave reviews from his peers around the world. It is a distillation of his work over the last 30 years into glucose metabolism and its effect on cancerous tumors.

There is an elegant simplicity to Dr. Lampidis’ groundbreaking research which has universal appeal. He is a pioneer in exploring and exploiting the unique usage of glucose in cancer cells using a simple sugar compound called 2-Deoxyglucose (2-DG). His discovery is based on the fact that the cancer cells most resistant to chemotherapy found within the inner core of all solid tumors do not receive enough oxygen (a state known as hypoxia) and therefore must rely exclusively on sugar to survive. Dr. Lampidis hypothesized he could trick these hypoxic tumor cells by feeding them 2-DG and effectively starving them to death. This process (glycolysis) is so fundamental, it has survived a billion years of evolution dating back to a time when there was no oxygen in our atmosphere and the only source of energy that could be used to keep tiny microbes alive was sugar.

Dr. Lampidis’ eureka moment led to two consecutive five-year awards from the National Cancer Institute, which stated in the reviews of his research that “Dr. Lampidis’ work could eventually lead to cures in certain cancers.”

In addition, working in collaboration with Dr. Tim Murray, a world leading expert in the investigation and treatment of children with eye cancer (retinoblastoma), Dr. Lampidis and his colleagues have provided the first proof of principle that 2-DG targets and kills the hypoxic portion of cancerous tumor cells. According to Dr. Murray, “2-DG may turn out to be best thing to come along in this disease in the last 10 years.”

Based on Dr. Lampidis’ work, an FDA-approved Phase I clinical trial was conducted to determine the tolerable dose level of 2-DG. The results of the Phase I trial (which have recently been published) establish the safety of this drug and its remarkable effectiveness in killing cancerous tumors. The next stage is to investigate and develop the most effective combination treatments and drug delivery method before progressing to a Phase II clinical trial.

And that’s where he has hit a roadblock. The unfortunate reality is that since 2-DG cannot be patented, pharma companies are not interested in devoting their resources to bring this wonder drug to market. “If 2-DG could be patented, this drug would already be available to cancer sufferers worldwide. That’s the tragic reality,” says Lampidis ruefully.

A dedicated group of volunteers have banded together and established a not-for-profit foundation in 2013 to raise awareness for Dr Lampidis’ groundbreaking work. Their goal is to raise $10 million to accelerate the journey through clinical trials and FDA approval and bring this miracle cure to market.

“Every day, people are out there raising money to cure cancer,” says Leyan Phillips, Executive Director of the Lampidis Cancer Foundation. “The sad reality is that very little of that money ends up going to research scientists who are actually working on a cure. This is where the funding is needed the most.”

Phillips continues, “I find it shocking that some cancer foundation executives earn salaries in excess of $500,000 a year, and have advertising budgets the size of a major corporation. If Dr. Lampidis had a fraction of that funding, we would have a cure for cancer by now.”

Dr. Lampidis’ work has recently attracted support and interest from an eclectic group of celebrities, including Jose Feliciano, the virtuoso guitarist, singer and songwriter, and Mexican TV novella actress Lorena Rojas, herself a breast cancer sufferer. Rojas has been instrumental in raising awareness among the Hispanic community, where cancer has now overtaken heart disease as the single biggest killer.

According to Rojas, “What I love about Dr. Lampidis’ work is that his research offers a universal approach to treating all types of cancer. His work offers sufferers like me hope.”

He also has a fan from an unlikely source in music maestro DJ Irie, the official DJ of the Miami Heat who was recently recognized at an award ceremony in New York as NBA DJ of the Year. “Dr Lampidis rocks!” exclaims DJ Irie, who spent time last month visiting the Professor in his lab to learn more about his research. “I will do what I can to spread the word about his work.”

Whilst the University of Miami has been very supportive of his work, resources are limited due to budget cuts and reductions in federal funding from the National Institutes of Health, and from a team of five post graduate researchers in his lab he finds himself left with just one technician, who has been with him for 15 years.

Despite the lack of resources, he continues to be the global leader in his field, with his research attracting international interest and acclaim from as far afield as Spain and Japan, all inquiring about 2-DG’s availability for further clinical testing.

“Whenever we come up with an idea using 2-DG and cancer, we review the literature and find that Dr. Lampidis has already beaten us to it!” says one of his overseas colleagues who is now collaborating with Dr. Lampidis on rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks skeletal muscle tissue.

“We’ve made such great progress over the last few years, the science is solid, and I really feel we’re on the brink of a universal treatment for cancer,” says Dr. Lampidis. “But without funding, there is a risk that cancer sufferers will be unable to access this treatment.”

“We’re hoping that a major benefactor will come along and see the opportunity to leave their mark on the world, to leave behind a legacy for mankind,” says Phillips.

As a call to action, they don’t come much more compelling than that.

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Big Pharma: “For every dollar spent on research, nearly twice is spent on lobbying and marketing”

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According to a recent article in The Guardian, for every dollar spent on research by the major pharmaceutical companies, nearly twice as much is spent on lobbying and marketing. This unfortunate reality is in sharp contrast to the almost daily struggle that academic researchers go through to secure funding for their work.

Industry has always played an important role in bringing new medically useful products to the public, but by industry’s nature its primary motivations are profit-driven and thus are not always in the public’s best interest. True, a pharmaceutical company is not a charity. The common argument is that they must necessarily recoup the cost of drug development, as only a small minority succeed in the marketplace.

On the other hand, taxpayer’s dollars in the form of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants have been the life source of financial support for medical research that is directed toward serving the greater societal good. However, with government funding for medical research suffering a sharp decline, this is leaving a massive void for those academic researchers whose groundbreaking discoveries might never see the light of day, but for philanthropy.

The Lampidis Cancer Foundation is focused on filling one of those gaps by funding research that has shown huge potential for helping those suffering from cancer. Unfortunately, because the drug that is used in the research (the analog of glucose known as 2-DG), cannot be patented, little interest from industry has been forthcoming. That’s why your support is so vital to get this universal cancer treatment through the appropriate preclinical and clinical trials so that it can begin to provide hope and relief for millions of cancer sufferers worldwide.

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