The corridors connecting the different research departments of the Uppsala medical campus are built underground, in order to protect the staff from death during the Swedish winters. A reticent, gently doleful-looking man, he has a Swedish chirrup that makes him sound jolly whatever his actual mood. But until Magnus's findings are tested in a clinical trial, nobody knows how good the work is. Trials come in three phases. On the snow-clotted plains of central Sweden where Wotan and Thor, the clamorous gods of magic and death, once held sway, a young, self-deprecating gene therapist has invented a virus that eliminates the type of cancer that killed Steve Jobs.
How the wealthy paying to be guinea pigs in clinical trials could help cure us all.
A virus that kills cancer: the cure that's waiting in the cold
There are reasons to be cautious. On my third glass of whisky, I wrote an email to Dr Meyer suggesting that he issue a shopping list each year at the time that bankers receive their bonuses, which could be circulated in the City. For the rest of time, your name will pop up in the reference sections of medical papers as the insert your name here virus that enabled researchers to find the cure for cancer by avoiding Magnus's error. A donation of £1 million will ensure the virus is named in your honour. I stopped the video and took a snapshot of the poster behind the lecturer's podium listing useful research company addresses; on the website of one of these organisations was a reference to a scholarly article that, when I checked through the footnotes, led, via a doctoral thesis, to a Skype address — which I dialled.