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January 2013 - Volume 19, Number 1


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Cancer Treatment Nothing Short of Grueling:
Cancer Research Needs Tissue

by Kim Lehman,
the John Paul II Medical Research Institute


It seems that too many Americans have cancer, showing up everywhere we turn. However, when a child gets cancer, it is even more devastating. Why? Because the treatment for cancer is nothing short of grueling. Without question, research to find a cure is needed and long overdue. Recently, two bold teenagers, Anna and Morgan, decided to help the John Paul II Medical Research Institute’s “Give Cures” campaign. Anna and Morgan both have had cancer and undergone agonizing rounds of chemotherapy.


According to national cancer statistics, over 26 billion dollars a year are spent on chemotherapy but only one-third of cancer patients are achieving cures.  Furthermore, when relapse or metastasis occurs, patients are typically subjected to additional rounds of chemotherapy with a different set of drugs. This approach to cancer therapy cannot continue. Research is needed to understand why the failure rate of chemotherapy is so high and to identify alternate approaches to identify and kill cancers.  


There is now growing medical evidence to support the idea that these failures to respond to therapy are due to cancer stem cells that are more resistant to chemotherapy.  These cancer stem cells, having survived the chemotherapy, can regenerate the cancer and lead to relapse and metastasis. At present, little is known of these cancer stem cells and they are not routinely detected, isolated, or tested for their susceptibility or resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. Having this technical ability would greatly advance the cancer field. To achieve this ability, there is a real need for cancer tissue. However, it is believed that less than 1 percent of cancer tissue biopsies that are taken make their way to the research laboratory. The John Paul II Medical Research Institute (JP2MRI) is uniquely positioned to address this need.


The John Paul II Medical Research Institute is a 501 (c) (3) organization based in Coralville, Iowa. One of the primary research efforts of the JP2MRI is in the area of cancer research, specifically cancers of the breast, colon, and lung. The JP2MRI has the technology for identifying and isolating cancer stem cells. However, before these cancer stem cells can be tested for their susceptibility or resistance to chemotherapeutic agents a repository of cancer tissues is needed. If you suffer from cancer, we encourage you to arrange with your physician to donate a cancer tissue biopsy for this desperately needed research. We must find cures.


The Institute launched its “Give Cures” campaign to invite the public to give to ethical research for cures. This could be in the form of giving a donation for research or giving tissue. We ask you to share the Give Cures flyer so everyone will learn about the Institute.


Give Cures is now recruiting doctors and their cancer patients to sign up on the Institute’s Patient and Physician Registry to assist in creating cancer stem cell lines so that industry, government, and academia can be more productive in their research efforts. With the support of private donations, the Institute will isolate and grow cancer stem cells from tissue biopsies or surgical specimens to offer personalized and more effective therapies for cancer patients.


Anna and Morgan are living heroes. After they went through the horrible chemotherapy regimen, they got involved to make a difference. Anna also wrote her story of what it was like to undergo cancer treatment. You can read Anna’s story on the Give Cures website ( However, like so many other people who want research, they do not want to help advance research that supports the killing of human embryos. Both Anna and Morgan have joined the Give Cures campaign to support ethical research. We invite you to do the same. Go to to find out how you can “give” for “cures.”


The John Paul II Medical Research Institute (JP2MRI) is a non-profit established to create a more streamlined process in conducting regenerative medicine research exclusively using adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.


Contact us at: John Paul II Medical Research Institute 540 E. Jefferson St., Suite 305, Iowa City, IA 52245. Phone: (319) 688-7367. Website:


FACTS & OPINIONS is one of our quarterly membership newsletters, arriving in January, April, July, and October. It consists of short articles of public interest with an emphasis on current issues.


FACTS & OPINIONS is published by Public Interest Institute at Iowa Wesleyan College, a nonpartisan, nonprofit, research and educational institute, whose activities are supported by contributions from private individuals, corporations, companies, and foundations. The Institute does not accept government grants.


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