The James Cancer Center is one of the leading oncology hospitals in the world. Located in Columbus, Ohio, the fight for cancer here is a constant challenge. A medical breakthrough is needed to move cancer research ahead. One area that has never been explored is organ donation.
It’s well-known practice for someone to donate their organs after they pass. However, the organs, usually don’t end up being used in cancer studies. Consequently, The James is starting the Body Donation for Cancer Research. This will allow them to investigate how diseased organs respond and why they are so resistant to treatment.
Pelotonia is funding the research. The James is one of a few university hospitals that will pilot this program. The goal is to study advanced-staged cancers and learn something new about each patient who lost the fight. Things they want to identify are:
•How did disease become metastatic and escape?
•Why are some cancers so resistant to treatment?
•Why does cancer change when it moves from one area of the body to another?
Each cadaver organ will provide a new learning opportunity. When a patient is living, biopsies are done to learn more about cancer. However, in many cases, this is not possible.
Many wonders why this avenue has never been explored. The problem is that the donor must have cancer in the study to be worthwhile. So asking patients to donate their organs to research while on their deathbed is a difficult task. Such a request must be made with dignity and respect. To date, 17 autopsies have been completed on cancer patients. The knowledge learned from these cadavers will help others fighting the disease.
Some patients and family members won’t hesitate to help. However, others are in a fragile, emotional state and may find the request intrusive. Still, it’s one of the best chances to further cancer study that has come about in decades.