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Mount Madonna teacher raising funds for cancer treatment project

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2013

WATSONVILLE With many people in her life either recently diagnosed with cancer or in recovery, Lisa Catterall has an idea for a new form of treatment that could help them and many others.

But first, she is relying on donations through a crowdsourcing website to help the idea get off the ground and into testing.

"I can't just have an idea that could help them and not go out and do something about it," Catterall said.

In the 1990s, Catterall worked for a company that was researching magnets as a way to target cancer-treating drugs. The research found that if metallic particles that absorbed cancer drugs were put into blood vessels, they could be held in place by a giant magnet, which would allow the drug to sit in the tumor and eat away at it.

A clinical trial proved successful, resulting in one complete remission and seven partial remissions, Catterall said.

But when a larger trial took place, the particles stopped working. Shortly after, the company folded when investors became impatient at the amount of time the project was taking, and pulled funding.

About 13 years later, Catterall, now a Mount Madonna School science teacher, said she had an "eureka" moment when she was watching a student play with a magnet and some iron fillings.

Determined to find out what made the first trial successful and why the second didn't work, Catterall decided to forgo the path of investors and instead created a fundraising campaign on the website Indiegogo with the help of local web designer Robyn Pearson.

Through the website, donators can choose how much they wish to contribute to the project. Depending on the amount of money donated, donators can receive a T-shirt, a pendant and more.

Catterall needs to raise her goal of $11,000 by July 14. If the goal is not reached, she will receive none of the money that has so far been raised, which as of Wednesday is $4,749.

The money, if raised successfully, will go toward a laboratory investigation of the idea and to prove the concept.

For information and to donate to the project, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/poikey-the-cancer-killer--2.

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