The Who to headline London cancer benefit concert

The Who will headline an all-star concert at London’s HMV Hammersmith Apollo on January 13th in aid of the charity Killing Cancer. (Photo is from TheWho.com.)

By John Curley 

The Who will headline an all-star lineup in a benefit concert for the charity Killing Cancer on January 13th at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo in London. Also on the bill are Jeff Beck, Debbie Harry, Bryan Adams, and Richard Ashcroft. The concert is being put together by The Who’s manager Bill Curbishley and the London concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith. The concert is intended to raise funds for a groundbreaking new cancer treatment known as Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). 

Regarding the beneficiary of the concert, Goldsmith told BBC 6 Music: 

“We were really intrigued by the teams that are working on this form of treatment and said we’d help. When they came to see us and said they needed £150,000 to finish these trials off Bill [Curbishley] and I got together and said; ‘Let’s put on a concert, raise the balance of that money and put it to good use.’”

 Jeff Beck spoke with NME.com about his participation in the concert, saying:

 “Any new breakthrough in cancer treatment should be taken very seriously and we want as many people to know about that as possible. The concert is not just going to raise funds to pay for new PDT trials, but will also help raise public awareness.”

Pre-sale tickets for the concert will be made available starting this Tuesday, November 16th. The general public sale of tickets starts on Friday, November 19th.

The Killing Cancer Web site describes PDT as follows:

PDT is an incredibly simple, quick and highly effective way to destroy target cells – often cancers but not exclusively.

PDT works by combining drug and light. There are several different drugs in use – all are based on chlorophyll and several still feature compounds originally extracted from plant life. One of the newest originates from deep-water seaweed.

When light of a specific wavelength combines with the drug in the target tissue, the reaction changes the oxygen molecule that feeds the cells. Without oxygen, cells rapidly die.

PDT is often able to destroy all the target cells with one treatment session, and the side effects are slight compared to those endured by patients having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

PDT is also, in examples such as Barrett’s Oesophagus, mouth, skin and prostate cancer, is an alternative to major, often disfiguring surgery.

The ‘worst’ side effect encountered with two of the PDT drugs is a period where the skin becomes light sensitive, making it essential for the patients to avoid sunlight for a matter of weeks. This is the case with the treatments for bile duct, lung and head and neck cancers.

But it is not the case with the Metvix skin cancer drug which is applied locally to the area of the cancer. With the breast, pancreatic and prostate treatments, the light sensitivity issue is usually only for a matter of hours.

There is good news with the lung / bile duct drug. An antidote now being tested reduces this light sensitivity to just days.

Despite the compelling evidence of its efficacy, PDT remains woefully under-funded in the UK. As you will read, there is huge potential to develop PDT, but not the funds to do so.

We are lobbying intensively to MPs and the Department of Health, but not making the progress we feel that is justified. We hope that this campaign will help to change all that!

There is also an acute lack of awareness of the treatment among the patient community. It is for that reason we have a Patient Leaflet being distributed via GP surgeries and other routes.

Killing Cancer seeks to raise funds for extensive trials across a range of cancers. With your assistance we can help kill cancer.

For more on this story, see the articles from BBC 6 Music and NME.com.

For additional information on the Killing Cancer charity, go to http://www.killingcancer.co.uk/home.asp.

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