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Study brings hope: Chemotherapy pain avoidable

Kathleen Rohde

Kathleen Rohde

Jon Lee on senior projects day

Kathleen Rohde

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The topic of a senior project can be extremely personal. Biology senior Jon Lee focused his project particularly close to home.

When Lee was 15 years old, he was diagnosed with BC1 cell line lymphoma cancer.

“I based my whole project around me having cancer,” said Lee.

In his senior project, Lee specifically researched the effects of THC on BC1 cell line lymphoma cancer cells.

Lee’s project examined treatments for lymphoma cancer cells. He focused on the effects of chemotherapy compared to the effects of using tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, to reduce tumor sizes in mice. His study also included how chemotherapy affected the cancer cells multiplying compared to THC.

While he has recovered, his fight with cancer still affects his life today. Lee has to watch what he eats and regularly monitors his heart.

“I can’t just be a normal person,” he said.

Lee said chemotherapy was really rough. His worst experience with chemotherapy was a day when he was too nauseous from of the therapy to attend school.

The start of his research was sparked by his experiences with chemotherapy. The amount of study results he found on THC being helpful with cancer patients surprised him.

“I wasn’t expecting many studies to be done,” said Lee. “But I had no problem finding enough sources to complete my project.”

Lee said the majority of the results he found were positive ones. He found that medical marijuana is currently being used in the medical field to relieve nausea for chemotherapy patients. He also learned that medical marijuana is being used to help with patients who suffer from arthritis and insomnia.

“I’d say it’s an increasing chemical in the medical field that’s being tested on a lot of things,” said Lee.

This project could be prevalent to him in years to come, Lee said. There is a chance that his cancer could come back in the future. If that happens, Lee said he would rather try THC to alleviate the pain of fighting cancer.

“This project makes me more interested in the field,” said Lee. “I’ll be keeping track of the effects found in new studies.”

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