By Kirsty Styles
Science crowdfunding startup Walacea is helping Madrid’s MedicalCannabis Bike Tour to raise the final €85,000 it needs to conduct an independent clinical trial into the effect of cannabinoids on brain tumours.
The scientists behind the tour have been working for the past 10 years to find ways to use cannabinoids, a substance found in cannabis, to treat breast cancer, skin cancer and brain tumours.
They have been fundraising since 2012 to get the cash they need for the trial in Spanish hospitals and have so far raised €200,000.
“Pharmaceutical companies have already started patenting new drugs based on cannabinoids, through crowdfunding this research we hope to make new therapies available at a fraction of the cost by funding the research without patenting effective treatments,” said founder of Walacea Natalie Jonk.
Walacea participated in the summer 2014 programme of Bethnal Green Ventures, which aims to help socially good startups get off the ground.
The platform is named after the lesser known “co-founder of evolution” Alfred Russel Wallace, explains Jonk, who “effectively crowdfunded his research during the late 1800s”.
Walacea, which offers small rewards for people pledging to back scientific breakthroughs, made headlines back in February after crowdfunding the world’s first MRI images of the brain on LSD.