A Note from Dr. Einhorn

Many know the story of the development of the cure for testis cancer. Many are, indeed, alive because of it. I am writing to share that, in February 2022, we lost an important part of that story.

John Cleland, Dr. Einhorn
John Cleland with Dr. Einhorn

In 1974, John Cleland was one of the first patients to receive experimental chemotherapy with cisplatin + vinblastine + bleomycin (PVB) to treat his advanced testis cancer. He became the first person in the world to be cured with this regimen. Prior to receiving PVB, he received three different lines of chemotherapy with only brief benefit but severe toxicity. Because of his courage to continue fighting, PVB and later bleomycin + etoposide + cisplatin (BEP) became the worldwide standard therapy, increasing the cure rate for metastatic testis cancer from 5% to 80%. John was a hero for bravely accepting this option when I presented it to him. Countless lives have been saved because John was willing to be a test case for my long-shot idea. I’ll never forget the pure joy I had in telling John, back in 1974, that I thought he was going to make it.  

And make it he did. He lived 47 more years and was a wonderful husband, father, educator, coach and friend. John and I kept in touch all his life, and I am personally indebted to him for being my partner in this journey.

To ensure that John is always a part of the cancer center, we are creating the John Cleland Testis Cancer Fellowship Fund to promote ongoing training in testis cancer research among our fellow trainees. My wife Claudette and I will be making a lead gift to this fund in John’s memory. I’d love it if you, too, would consider making a gift to honor this trailblazing hero in testis cancer research.

Sincerely, 

Lawrence H. Einhorn signature
Lawrence H. Einhorn, MD
Distinguished Professor
Indiana University

#ThankYouJohnCleland

Forty years ago, a man diagnosed with testicular cancer confronted a daunting statistic: five percent.

In the mid-1970s, that was the chance of survival. Thanks to the pioneering work of Larry Einhorn, M.D., and his colleagues here at Indiana University School of Medicine, that has changed dramatically. Today, the chemotherapy regimen Einhorn developed has elevated the cure rate to close to 95 percent.

Because of this, there is a legion of testis cancer survivors around the world who have been given the gift of a full life.

But, Dr. Einhorn and his team are not satisfied with a 95 percent cure rate. IU researchers continue to explore new treatment options for those who are not cured by frontline therapies.

And though Dr. Einhorn and his team are proud of their role in the survivorship of so many, they also want to ensure the cure doesn’t involve a tradeoff in terms of quality of life. That’s why Dr. Einhorn is now dedicated to better understanding the unique set of challenges testis cancer patients face after treatment.

With 8,000 new testicular cancer cases each year in the United States, the questions IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center physicians and scientists ask are critically important. Philanthropic support ensures we have the resources to seek the answers. 

To learn more about the research being conducted, view our Testis Cancer Research Update

Fast Facts:

  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men 15 to 35 years old. Prior to Dr. Einhorn’s pioneering studies with cisplatin combination chemotherapy, 95 percent of men with metastatic disease succumbed to this formerly deadly malignancy. Today, the cure rate is 95 percent, the highest success rate of any cancer.
  • It is estimated that more than 300,000 lives of young, otherwise healthy men have been saved as a direct result of Dr. Einhorn’s discoveries.
  • This incredible discovery--which still remains the only cure discovered for a solid tumor--earned Dr. Einhorn international recognition and also ensured his meteoric rise in the world of oncology.
Give Now Testis Cancer Research Fund: Gifts to the Testis Cancer Research Fund support the most pressing needs within testis cancer research within the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine at IU School of Medicine.

Learn More: