2019 Annual Report
It is our pleasure to inform you about the research progress at John Paul II Medical Research Institute during 2019. While 2019 was a very challenging fund raising year for the Institute, we still managed to make significant research advances which are highlighted below.
JP2MRI's four research and therapeutic priorities include: 1) neurodegenerative disorders; 2) rare diseases; 3) cancer; and 4) unmet or underperformed chronic diseases. Since our establishment in 2006, JP2MRI has created one of the largest portfolios of adult stem cells in the world. These cells include adult stem cells from bone marrow, fat tissue and many types of stem cells from postnatal tissue like cord blood, umbilical cords and the placenta. The Institute has also contributed to the development of the next generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). These iPSC are novel in that they are created without using either viruses or oncogenes. iPSC are stem cells that have the same capabilities as embryonic stem cells but are free of ethical controversy because they do not require the destruction of human embryos.
Creating and Validating Ethical Cell Lines to Replace Aborted Fetal Cell Lines Used by Pharmaceutical Companies
To enable JP2MRI to meet the first scientific milestones necessary to replace human cell lines derived from past abortions, the Institute’s goal this year was to raise $300,000 as part of our "Campaign for Cures". There are several human cell lines which were derived from past abortions that are being used by the pharmaceutical industry to generate billions of dollars annually. These cells are being used to produce vaccines, protein drugs, gene therapies and cell therapies. Most of these pharmaceutical products require administration in a hospital setting, thereby creating an additional dilemma that threatens Catholic healthcare. Catholic hospitals that adopt therapies derived from morally-illicit cells risk losing their Catholic identity. Conversely, those that refuse to use such technologies risk losing market share due to the perception of not offering the most cutting-edge treatments. Furthermore, pro-life healthcare providers risk losing their jobs in secular hospitals if they exercise their moral conscience and refuse to administer these products. JP2MRI has been working hard to address this problem.
This year, JP2MRI made significant progress in generating "immortalized" human adult stem cell lines. Most cells, including stem cells, generally weaken and die over time and with repeated passages required for cellular growth. In July, the Institute took 2 adult stem cells from newborn sources, one from cord blood and the other from placenta, and introduced genes in them to try and immortalize these adult stem cells so that they could serve to replace the immoral ones currently used by industry. Research of this nature had never been attempted before with adult stem cells and there was a presumption that only fetal cells could produce medicines in bio-manufacturing. Generally, it takes at least fifty cell passages (roughly 7 months) to confirm that the cells are truly immortal and functional for bio-manufacturing purposes. Our cell lines have now been passaged 32 times and are still growing well. We intend to continue devoting resources to ensure that these cell lines remain growing. As you can imagine, this work is a capital intensive effort that takes time and requires your continued financial support. While failure to meet our fundraising goal will delay our efforts towards offering an ethical solution, the Institute remains committed to seeing this project to completion. Sadly, researchers around the world are continuing with their efforts to source and use fresh aborted tissue to create new future cell lines. Consequently, it is critical that ethical alternative cell lines are developed and made available so that we do not have to endure another half a century or more without ethical alternative treatment options.
Research Recognition and Educational Outreach
JP2MRI's "Campaign for Cures" and our 2019 research advances were featured in several media articles: 1) "Catholic stem cell research firm producing ethical cures" by John Burger in Aleteia; 2) "Creating Catholic Regenerative Medicine Organizations in a Secular Biotechnology Field: A Physician-Scientist Experience" by Dr. Alan Moy in The Linacre Quarterly; and 3) "Pro-life stem cell research finds success-and seeks more support" by Kevin Jones in Catholic World Report. The Institute welcomes you to read these articles and to follow our research progress by visiting our Facebook page.
Closing Statement of Gratitude and Future Support from Our Donors
We intend to continue developing our novel technology and cell lines to advance drug discovery and better therapies in the coming years. This is a complicated research area that is going to take time and continued financial support. Our research success depends directly on the active participation of our donors. Given our organization's size and budget, we rely on our donors to help us spread the word of our accomplishments through word of mouth and social media. We encourage each of you to notify your local schools, churches, civic groups and hospitals about our research and need for support. As always, the majority of every dollar we receive is applied towards actual research and not administrative expenses.
There are several ways to support our mission. First, individuals can purchase apparel from our web site to help us increase our visibility. Second, you can make a charitable donation online through our website or mail donations to our administrative office. Third, churches, schools and civic groups can conduct joint venture fundraising events in which half of the raised money can be retained for local charities. To learn how you or your organization can help, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, individuals can consider donating to the Institute through their estate planning efforts. As always, we thank you for your continued support.
Alan Moy, MD
Founder and Scientific Director
Jay Kamath, JD