With your help, Project Stealth has reached its fundraising goal—ahead of schedule and under budget.
Read Dr. Saltzman’s Letter:
Dear Friends and Supporters,
In what might be a first in fundraising history, I am not asking you for anymore donations. With your support, Project Stealth achieved its goal—ahead of schedule and under budget. Which means no more emotional appeals with a link to the “donate” page.
From dream to reality
We launched Project Stealth in October 2013 with a two-year goal of raising $500,000—critical seed money that would allow us to pursue our dream of developing a novel cancer therapy with no toxic side effects. Our main goal was to identify a new generation of Salmonella based cancer therapy that we can now further develop with the hopes of using it in a clinical trial for cancer. I’m thrilled to report that we came in under budget and ahead of schedule to accomplish this goal. After raising nearly $460,000, Project Stealth produced sufficient compelling preliminary data to carry our concept forward. In addition, with this data, we are now eligible to compete for federal government cancer research grants. Thanks to generous donors like you, we’re close to turning this dream into a reality.
Buddy, the golden retriever you may remember from the Project Stealth video, lived a happy, healthy and cancer-free life for another four years following treatment. At the age of 10, he developed a new cancer (unrelated and not due to the initial treated cancer) in one of his three remaining legs. This new cancer could have been treated, but it would have meant a second amputation. Although Buddy is no longer with us, his story bodes well for the future of cancer treatment. We are so thankful to Buddy’s owners for taking that brave step to enroll Buddy in this trial.
What we’ve accomplished
Our unique cancer-fighting system consists of genetically altered Salmonella with a singular ability to invade solid cancers. Using the Salmonella as a “smart-bomb,” we deliver immune modulators directly to a cancer cell, and to the body as a whole, to create a large number of cancer-killing immune cells.
During the past 22 months, we successfully identified four different immune-modulating proteins, a construct we found to be the most effective at killing cancer. Two are “boosters” that stimulate the immune system to make cancer-killing immune cells, and two are “immune checkpoint inhibitors” that disable the cancer’s ability to suppress the immune system.
The graph below shows just how effective this combination therapy is at inhibiting cancer growth in mice.
Please draw your attention to two of the groups of mice with breast cancer tumors represented on this graph. The blue line represents untreated mice whose cancers grew 25 times in size over 28 days. The green line represents mice treated with a single dose of our “cocktail” of Salmonella carrying four different immune modulators. In the treated mice there was little appreciable growth of the cancer for 28 days.
Where we’re going
Among the many different breast cancer models in mice, the Balb-Neu-T is the one that most closely resembles the model found in humans, making it a natural choice for our research and treatment strategy. By waiting to treat these mice until we can literally feel the tumor, we’re “stacking the deck” against us in order to really put our cancer-fighting system to the test. Related research is focusing on the ideal dosing intervals and amounts, as well as potential combinations with other forms of therapy to increase efficacy with few or no side effects. In addition, we are going to test this treatment strategy in mouse models of pancreas and prostate cancer in the near future.
We still have plenty of work to do, of course, but your enthusiasm and support for Project Stealth continues to inspire us every day. I don’t need to ask for money, but I do plan to send out periodic updates on our research and funding status. And you can always find us on Facebook.
Daniel Saltzman, MD, PhD