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Chicago Teen is helping to find a cure for colon cancer

April V. Taylor

Kevin Stonewall, a teen from Chicago’s SouthSide, is not the typical teenager.  Instead of being focused on what he will do after graduation, Stonewall is working at a Rush University lab helping to make breakthroughs in colon cancer research.  The current college sophomore is majoring in biomedical engineering and has been contributing to the field since he was in high school.

According to, Stonewall reports that he fell in love with science in the 5th grade after being fascinated by cells under a microscope.  His interest in colon cancer came about after a friend’s uncle was diagnosed with the disease.  Stonewall says that during the course of the uncle’s illness and death, his friend became troubled and began earning poor grades stating, “I saw the impact on him and how it impacted his life.  Cancer has taken over a whole bunch of lives, and I felt like I needed to step up and do something about it.”

After testing an experimental vaccine in high school, Stonewall found that the vaccine did not have the same effect in older mice as it did in younger mice.  This discovery had clinical significance because of the fact that the majority of colon cancer patients are elderly.  Assistant professor Andrew Zloza points out that Stonewall’s discovery may have implications in other fields besides just colon cancer stating that Stonewall’s work “has suggested that drugs may not work the same in people of different ages.  This means that age may have to be a factor when physicians choose which drugs and what dosage to use in people of different ages.  This is something already taken into account for children versus adults, but now adults may need to be separated into groups by age.”

Sonewall’s findings have been presented at the Society for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.  He hopes to eventually cure cancer.  Stonewall’s research with colon cancer is critical as it is the third most common type of cancer for African Americans.  African Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer more than any other ethnic group and also experience the highest death rates from colon cancer.



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5 thoughts on “Chicago Teen is helping to find a cure for colon cancer

  1. Allen Shaw

    ” African Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer more than any other ethnic group and also experience the highest death rates from colon cancer.”
    All Blacks do not come from the same ethnic groups in Africa. Does the above statement mean “Race” or does Ethnics have something to do with this study?

    • Barbara

      After 400 years of mixing African American “ethnic” African groups, we are our own distinct ethnic group. My paternal side is Gabon; my maternal side is Cameroon. I did the DNA test to find out my African roots.

      Great story about the young man. I hope it will be a Black person who eventually finds a cure for cancer..

  2. Eileen P. Freeney/Williams

    This young man is doing wonders and I want to personally thank him for taking on such a necessary task for everyone…

  3. Pingback: A student from Chicago strives to find the cure for colon cancer | I don't Gossip!

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