About the Foundation

The mission of the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is to improve the cure rates of women with gynecologic cancer through innovative clinical research. Research is the key to improving cure rates. Our unique WCRF clinical research model is 400% more productive than the traditional university/cancer center model.

WCRF overhead is only 10%. Our physicians and staff of sixty work for free to support WCRF. Our only major expenses are those directly related to our research team. 90% of funds donated to WCRF go to our research team. By comparison when funds are donated to the Komen Foundation or the American Cancer Society, only about 9% gets to researchers.

We have wonderful collection of celebrity supporters. We are in the process of redoing our website and look forward to a fresh, educational, entertaining site that conveys the excitement we feel at being at the leading edge of women's cancer research.

John P. Micha, MD
President/ Founder/ Board member

Honoring Lynn Thomas

Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) recently said an unwilling good-bye to one of our oldest and dearest friends Lynn Thomas.

Lynn Thomas, a cancer fighter & survivor and a Board member of WCRF, first came to know Dr. John Paul Micha, her gynecologic oncologist, the founder and president of Gynecologic Oncology Associates (GOA) and Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) 30 years ago when she was first diagnosed with cervical cancer. Lynn Thomas bravely fought numerous battles with consecutive cancers over 30 years, she was deeply moved by Dr. Micha’s dedication and life-long friendship. Lynn left her entire estate $2 million to Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) in the hopes that WCRF could continue their tireless work to find cures for women’s cancers. As a beneficiary of WCRF clinical research, she made sure her legacy could benefit countless women through WCRF’s pure dedication and transparent donation system. As her doctor and a founder/ president of GOA and WCRF, Dr. Micha wanted to honor Lynn Thomas by sharing the following heartfelt letter with the public;

I have been Lynn Thomas’s doctor for almost 30 years. Lynn was cured of her initial cervical cancer through a combination of ultra radical surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Over the past 30 years, she fought and won her cancer battles more than a dozen times. Each time, Lynn’s incredible optimism, strength and strong will to live pulled her through. Unfortunately, Lynn developed another gynecologic cancer and passed away from that on November 27, 2017. Lynn died peacefully at her home. My wife Vicki and I visited her shortly before she died. Even after all her fights, she was peaceful and content with what she’s accomplished in her life.

The entire GOA physician and nursing team has done amazing work helping Lynn physically, psychologically and spiritually. We all loved Lynn and Lynn loved us. Lynn left her entire estate which appears to be valued at about $2 million to WCRF. It is amazing that Lynn has done this for us. This will provide us with the financial strength so that we can hopefully build the $10 million endowment that we need to make WCRF viable in perpetuity.

Lynn had certain conditions that she made clear to myself, Mark Schley and her friends. For WCRF to receive the benefit of Lynn’s trust, WCRF needed to be an independent organization. Lynn was adamant that if a hospital took over WCRF, that she did not want her funds going to WCRF. I know that our WCRF Board is completely in sync with Lynn about the importance of WCRF remaining an independent organization that is devoted solely to support our WCRF research team.

Lynn’s wisdom and generosity will live among us forever.

May she rest in peace.

John Paul Micha M.D.
GOA Founder and Managing Physician
GOA Partners LLC MSO Founder and President
Women’s Cancer Research Foundation Founder and President


[Women's Cancer Research Foundation] Newsletter - December,2017

To Our Dedicated Supporters:

Everything continues to go well. The Women's Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) remains dedicated in their mission to improve the cure rates for women afflicted with gynecologic cancers. As we approach the end of 2017, the WCRF would like to express our profound gratitude for the unwavering support from our generous and thoughtful donors. Undeniably, the WCRF is a more financially viable and successful organization because of your continued assistance.

The WCRF has been very busy and extremely productive in 2017. They have successfully published 15 research publications in prominent gynecologic cancer research journals, reporting on their experience with surgical innovation, improvements in chemotherapy, targeted therapies and improving patient outcomes. Since 2003, the WCRF physicians have written over 145 journal articles.

The WCRF recently completed their metformin trial for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients. Moreover, they remain diligently involved with their immunotherapy clinical trial (Avelumab), which is also for the treatment of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer. The WCRF recently embarked on a clinical trial that evaluates a medication (Akynzeo) designed to reduce the effects of nausea and vomiting in patients while they are undergoing chemotherapy. Additionally, we are conducting an immunotherapy therapy trial with the pharmaceutical company, Regeneron, for the treatment of recurrent cervix cancer, and two different ovarian cancer vaccine trials with the pharmaceutical companies, TapImmune and Tesaro.

In 2017, the WCRF was proud to be the beneficiary of the 19th Annual Big Kahuna Bike Ride and the 7th Annual Swing for the Cure Event. For 2018, Katrina Lopez, the WCRF clinical research director, and I are already in the process of arranging the 13th annual WCRF Gala, for which we hope you will join us. We also wish to formally welcome Leila Villanueva , who has joined the WCRF as a research coordinator, and will work closely with Katrina.

We were also blessed by Lynn Thomas. Lynn passed away in November 2017. Lynn left her entire estate to WCRF. This legacy gift will effect Women's Cancer Research Foundation for decades and has inspired other donors to include us in their wills. We think about Lynn everyday and are amazed at her foresight and generosity.

In the spirit of the New Year, we hope you will consider making a tax deductible gift to the WCRF, which will further enable us to achieve our goal of improving the cure rates for women with gynecologic cancer. The WCRF prides itself on the fact that 90% of all our contributions are directly invested into life-saving cancer research.

Thank you again for being such dedicated and wonderful supporters. We are excited to share more with you in the near future and hope you will join us at the 13th annual WCRF Gala in May 2018. Please have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

John P. Micha, MD
President/ Founder/ Board member

Our Work

Our research has resulted in more effective treatment patterns and cure rates that are higher than the national averages.

Since 1985, the physicians from the WCRF have been pioneers in clinical research to improve cure rates for women with ovarian, uterine, endometrial, cervical and other gynecological cancers. The WCRF is one of the most productive, efficient and innovative clinical research groups in the U.S. and the world. WCRF designs, conducts and publishes research on leading-edge medical advances.

WCRF is not only conducting and publishing original research, we are a clearinghouse for information about the latest advancements in treating gynecological cancers for physicians and patients.

  • Our approach results in publishing 12 to 15 research papers per year in prestigious journals such as Gynecologic Oncology, International Journal of Gynecologic Cancer and Obstetrics and Gynecology. View Publications List [pdf].
  • WCRF has developed collaborative research relationships with prominent pharmaceutical and biotech companies including Merck, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Genentech-Roche, Pfizer, Endocyte, Centocor Ortho Biotech, Nektar Therapeutics, Abbott Laboratories, and Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc..


Expert Doctors, Dedicated Research Staff.

Physician Researchers
Lisa N. Abaid, M.D.
Fikret Atamdede, M.D.
Tiffany L. Beck, M.D.
John V. Brown, M.D.
Alberto A. Mendivil, M.D.
John P. Micha, M.D.
Ramin Mirhashemi, M.D.
Kristina M. Mori, M.D.
Eijean Wu, M.D.

Senior Fellow
Bram Goldstein, Ph.D.

Research Director
Katrina Lopez, CCRC

Clinical Research Coordinator
Leila Villanueva, M.A.

Creative Director
Elliott Micha

Project Design and Outreach
Kelly Bohart

Michelle Aylward
Sophia Kang
Vilma Thompson

President/Founder/Board Member
John P. Micha, M.D.

Board Member
Gloria Alkire, Ed.D.

Board of Directors
Norman Crawford, D.D.S.
Len Rullo
Joan Rullo
John West, M.D.
Mark Schley
Connie Needham
Andrea Esty
Mavis Eckoff
Vivian Panou
Bridget Quijada

Legal Consult (pro bono; thank you!)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
Robert Sbardellati

Elliott, Lewis, Lieber & Stumpf
Greg Lewis

Investment Advisor
UBS Financial Services
Joseph Schirripa, VP


The best way to donate to cancer research is to:

  • Donate directly to the organization that actually does the research.
  • Stipulate in your donation that your funds must go to the research you want to support.
  • Stipulate the percentage of overhead you are willing to pay.
  • Stipulate whether you want funds to go to research, or if it is acceptable to go to building construction. Cancer centers and hospitals love to build buildings as their "research project." This is generally a misuse of research funds in our opinion.
  • Stipulate that if the funds are not used as you directed, they are to be returned to you.
  • Track the peer publications rate of the research group you donate to.Publications are the metric for tracking a research group's productivity.

501(c)(3) STATUS
WCRF is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation. Our physicians have been involved in research dating back to 1971. In 1999 the foundation was incorporated as a charitable 501(c)(3) foundation so that our patients, families, and other donors could support our research effort. Donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your support.

TAX ID #: 33-0865870

Major Donors and Research Sponsors

  • Merck, Inc.
  • Pfizer
  • Gynecologic Oncology Associates
  • John Micha, MD
  • Carl Wynn Foundation
  • S.L. Gimbel Foundation
  • The Big Kahuna Bike Ride
  • Burton Construction, Inc.
  • Vitalogy Foundation - Pearl Jam
  • The Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band
  • Oso Home Care
  • St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Center
  • Hoag Hospital Cancer Center
  • John & Hilda Arnold Foundation
  • Judy Burton Swing for the Cure
  • Helsinn Oncology
  • Orange County Community Foundation
  • The Revlon Foundation
  • Walter and Maureen Snell Endowed Fund
  • Ebell Club of Canyon Hills
  • Earth Friendly Products
  • Angels on the Frontline
  • Heron Therapeutics
  • AIVITA Biomedical
  • Genentech, Inc.
  • Jameson Foundation
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Amgen
  • Smith Kline Beecham
  • Eli Lilly
  • Ortho Biotech
  • Altarex
  • Atairgin Technologies, Inc.
  • Unither
  • Telik
  • Cell Therapeutics

The Cancer Column

The Advent of PARP Inhibitors

Poly ADP-ribose polymerases inhibitors, or PARP inhibitors, are an exciting new class of drugs that have attracted considerable attention in the realm of anti-cancer therapy. PARP enzymes, which are activated by DNA (molecules that carry the genetic instructions used in the functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms) damage, are essential to repairing DNA impairment and promoting cancer cell survival [1]. Consequently, therapies that inhibit or block these PARP enzymes should circumvent this process.

Recently, several clinical studies have evaluated the efficacy of PARP inhibitors (e.g., niraparib (zejulaTM), olaparib (lynparzaTM) and rucaparib (rubracaTM)) in the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer. Many of the trials demonstrated profound anti-tumor activity, especially in subjects who harbor a BRCA1/2 germline mutation (identified in 10-15% of patients) [2]. The BRCA mutation is associated with a greater difficulty in repairing DNA, further predisposing the cancer cells to the effects of PARP inhibitor therapy.

Currently, niraparib has conferred a significant clinical benefit, irrespective of BRCA mutation status; thus the medication can be offered to a more extensive range of ovarian cancer patients [3]. Similarly, rucaparib and olaparib are being evaluated for their effectiveness in both BRCA and non-BRCA mutation patients.

PARP inhibitors are generally, well tolerated, with attendant side effects that may include nausea, fatigue and gastrointestinal symptoms [4]. Additionally, studies have reported on the effectiveness of PARP inhibition in combination with other chemotherapies, although the safety and tolerability of these regimens require further evaluation.


  1. [1] Sehouli J, Braicu EI, Chekerov R.PARP Inhibitors for Recurrent Ovarian Carcinoma: Current Treatment Options and Future Perspectives. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd 2016; 76: 164–169.
  2. [2] Bolton KL, Chenevix-Trench G, Goh C. Association Between BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations and Survival in Women with Invasive Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. JAMA 2012; 307: 382–390.
  3. [3] Mirza MR, Monk BJ, Herrstedt J, et al: Niraparib maintenance therapy in platinum-sensitive, recurrent ovarian cancer. N Engl J Med 375:2154-2164, 2016.
  4. [4] Brown JS, Kaye SB, Yap TA. , PARP inhibitors: the race is on. Br J Cancer 2016; 114: 713–715.

The Development of the Pap Smear

The Papanicolaou test (abbreviated as Pap test, Pap smear, cervical smear, or smear test) was developed By Dr. George Papanicolaou in the 1940’s at Cornell New York Hospital in New York City. Dr. Papanicolaou worked in the Hospital’s women’s center, caring for indigent patients.

Seventy years later, Dr. Micha attended Cornell Medical School and completed his OB/GYN residency there, and became a full time faculty member at the same clinic as Dr. Papanicolaou.

Dr. Papanicolaou began collecting vaginal swabs from patients in order to study the maternal hormonal cycle effects on menstruation. Dr. Papanicolaou smeared the cotton tipped swabs on to slides and then examined them; he noticed that some patients had unusual cells on these slides and eventually discovered that they had precancerous and cancerous conditions of the cervix. The patients then underwent further evaluation and treatment to cure them of their precancerous conditions and cervical cancers.

The Pap test became an international standard of care for women in the detection of precancerous and cancerous lesions of the cervix. Currently, millions of Pap tests have been conducted and the mortality rate from cervical cancer has been greatly reduced.

Dr. Micha notes that nearly 50% of successful treatment are identified "accidentally". Researchers are working on many studies and periodically, they fortuitously make an unexpected discovery. For example, the inventor of the microwave oven was studying microwaves for scientific usage and inadvertently noticed that his coffee cup warmed up when it was adjacent to his experiment. He followed up on this and eventually invented the modern microwave oven.

The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation is focused on logical, scientific cancer treatment development. However, our researchers are always considering the value of unanticipated or secondary benefits associated with old and novel therapies with the intent to improve patient cure rates.

Ovarian Cancer and Germline BRCA 1/2 Testing

Ovarian cancer is a very aggressive gynecologic malignancy. The disease is the 8th most common cancer among women and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death among women. The lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is approximately 1.39% but the incidence of this cancer increases in women who harbor a BRCA 1 or 2 germline mutation by 40-60% and 11-27%, respectively.1 Genetic testing has been accessible for about 15 years and has been progressively utilized in clinical practice for patients with a BRCA 1/2 germline mutation, and for women with a significant family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, dissimilar to breast cancer surveillance, screening for ovarian cancer has been fairly ineffectual. If we can, however, determine the potential effect of BRCA germline mutation on first degree relatives, this may lead to significant discussion of cancer prevention strategies or the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. As the interest in BRCA germline mutations continues to inspire provocative and clinically meaningful research, we are optimistic that this will further highlight the necessity for developing and adopting standard testing guidelines that may enhance ovarian cancer detection and ultimately, improve patient cure rates. If you have any further questions about BRCA testing and ovarian cancer, please contact the Women’s Cancer Research Foundation at (949) 642-5165. We are located at 351 Hospital Road, Suite #506, in Newport Beach, CA.

1. Printz C. BRCA 1/2-negative patients who receive counseling after genetic testing have lower anxiety. Cancer 2016;122:1149.

Contact WCRF


351 Hospital Road, Suite 506
Newport Beach, CA 92663


(949) 642-5165


(949) 646-7157