Journalism for cancer patients

25 januari 2023

Alexander Masters in the University Hall

The ethics of crowdfunded clinical studies is one important new issue raised by Alexander Masters, new honorary doctor at the Faculty of Medicine.

Alexander Masters is an author and freelance journalist based in the United Kingdom. His committed journalism has been crucial to establishing a unique clinical trial for seriously ill cancer patients at Uppsala University Hospital. For his efforts, Alexander Masters is now being installed as an honorary doctor in the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy.

What does this honorary doctorate mean to you?

”It feels great! I was both proud and astonished when I received the news that I had been awarded an honorary doctorate at Uppsala University. I work with two superb patient advocates, communication consultants Dominic Nutt and Liz Scarff, who work a professional web campaigner. Through our world of creative writing and journalism, we helped to raise the funds needed to conduct clinical trials of a promising cancer product developed at Uppsala University.”

”Together, we solved a problem that was potentially preventing work to save lives. Despite knowing nothing about academic methods or manners, we succeeded with our fundraising and advocacy campaign for cancer research. The ethics of using crowdfunding to sponsor clinical studies is a new and important issue that has been highlighted in lectures and scientific journals.”

What is your relationship with Uppsala University like today?

Alexander Masters and Magnus Essand
Alexander Masters, Honorary doctor and Magnus
Essand, Professor of Gene therapy at the Department
of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.
Photo: Cecilia Yates

”Lovely!. I drink my coffee in the morning out of an Uppsala University mug and read the Uppsala University magazine over breakfast. Then I turn to my endlessly patient friend Magnus Essand, professor of gene therapy at Uppsala University, whenever I need advice about something new that we are working on to benefit patients.”

Are you still involved in cancer research?

”Yes, I still work to help patients and patient organisations, even if it’s still in the same slightly odd way that I began, i.e., out on the margins. Above all, I try to find ideas for solving deep-seated problems with neglected clinical trials. In my case, it always comes back to funding. and that’s how my interest in Uppsala University began.”

”At the moment, we’re working with researchers at the universities of Oxford and Warwick on a possible new way for participants to finance a mass study into the co-morbidities of ageing, which of course includes cancer. There’s a vast supply of expertise and enthusiasm out here in the non-university world, and universities still don’t seem to know how to take proper advantage of it. That’s another interesting subject. You could write a cracking doctoral thesis – a real one – about that, concludes Alexander Masters.”

Learn more about honorary doctorate lectures and the Winter Conferment Ceremony

On 26 January, the Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy invites you to attend open lectures by the 2023 honorary doctors in medicine and pharmacy.

  • Alexander Masters: The Patient Doctor and the Doctoring Patient.
  • Michel Georges: A Bovine GWAS Reveals Determinants of Mobilization Rate and Dynamics of Endogenous Retroviruses.
  • Cecilie Svanes: The Early Life and Preconception Origins of Adult Asthma and COPD.
  • Siew Chai: The Enigma that is IRAP: Is it an Enzyme, a Receptor or a Trafficking Molecule?
  • Richard Bergström: Media and Media – Not Same Same.

The programme commences at 13:15 but please take your seat by 13:00.
Venue: Lecture Hall IX, University Main Building.

Uppsala University’s Winter Conferment Ceremony will be held on 27 January from 12:00 until 15:00.

The Conferment Ceremony in the Grand Auditorium includes all nine faculties. The Royal Academic Orchestra, Uppsala University’s symphony orchestra, will play during the ceremony. The orchestra has been playing at the University’s ceremonies since 1637. The ceremony will include cannon salutes at intervals between 12:45 and 15:00 (67 shots). Please ensure that you take your seat no later than 12:00. Tickets can be collected free of charge outside the auditorium from 10:00 on the day of the ceremony.