Newswise — SEATTLE — October 15, 2020 — After more than two years of reconstruction efforts, scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have moved into their new labs at the newly renovated Lake Union Steam Plant. The 106,000-square-foot historical building provides a collaborative space for nearly 300 scientists and staff focused on immunotherapy, translational data science and related programs. It represents the next generation of lifesaving therapies stemming from Fred Hutch’s Nobel Prize–winning work on bone marrow transplantation.
“The Steam Plant is an expansion, not only of space, but of the way we do collaborative research and the connections between people and disciplines,” said Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr., president and director of Fred Hutch and holder of the Raisbeck Endowed Chair. “It’s more square footage, but it’s also about proximity — proximity of individuals to others whose work enhances their own and proximity of working groups to other complementary groups. It’s an evolution of the concept of multidisciplinary research.”
The new space expands Fred Hutch’s wet lab space by 15 percent and its total real estate footprint to 1.4 million square feet. Fred Hutch signed a renewable 10-year lease of the former Zymogenetics facility in 2018 and spent the last two years heavily renovating the space.
“The opening of the Steam Plant is a testament to the drive and vision of our leadership and donors,” said Dr. Raphael Gottardo, scientific director of Fred Hutch’s Translational Data Science Integrated Research Center and holder of the J. Orin Edson Foundation Endowed Chair. “While the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic will force us to take many safety measures, the collaborative layout, complete with open labs and shared spaces, is designed to fuel connections from experts across scientific disciplines to develop and deploy cutting-edge tools to better understand, treat and cure cancer.”
Examples of research that will take place at the Steam Plant include:
- Using and creating new technology to better understand disease
- Personalizing treatments and therapies
- Developing effective, enduring cellular immunotherapies for difficult-to-treat solid tumor cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer and accelerating curative therapeutics for blood cancers like myeloma and leukemia
- Advancing gene therapy to treat malignant, inherited and infectious diseases
In addition to accelerating cancer and related disease research, Fred Hutch will also use the Steam Plant as a modern learning facility for early-career scientists.
“It’s critical that the next-generation of immunology researchers incorporate data science to get the most value from their work,” said Dr. Geoff Hill, scientific director of Fred Hutch’s immunotherapy Integrated Research Center, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation and holder of the José Carreras/E. Donnall Thomas Endowed Chair for Cancer Research. Bringing together experts with different backgrounds in an open space environment provides diversity of thought and encourages the integration of new perspectives into solving some of the most challenging scientific questions.”
Fred Hutch completed Steam Plant renovations thanks to the hard work and support from our partners, donors and foundations. We continue to raise funds for these labs and look forward to welcoming visitors to campus when it is safe again for programs. For more information about the Lake Union Steam Plant, visit https://www.fredhutch.org/steam-plant.