Survivors of childhood cancers face insurance barriers
Adult survivors of childhood cancer were denied health care coverage more often than their cancer-free siblings, paid more out of pocket for their health care, were more likely to borrow money due to health care costs and were more prone to skip filling necessary prescriptions due to their price, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Biostatistician Dr. Wendy Leisenring is a co-author on the study and lead statistician for the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.
Media Contact: Claire Hudson | [email protected] 

Nanoparticles may provide ‘hit-and-run’ approach to immunotherapy
In Nature Communications, Dr. Matthias Stephan describes nanoparticles developed at Fred Hutch that can streamline the delivery of bundled genetic material to specific cells. Stephan, an immunobioengineer, describes this as “hit-and-run” gene therapy, a strategy in which a brief change to certain cells can have a permanent therapeutic effect.
Media Contact: Molly McElroy | [email protected]

Fruit fly study IDs missing links in fat-signaling system
A fruit fly weighs about a quarter of a milligram. It would take nearly 250 million of them to equal the weight of a single, non-obese human. But they can develop metabolic disorders —like diabetes —that mimic those in humans, and they’re much easier to study than humans, or even mice. That’s why Dr. Akhila Rajan, a basic scientist at Fred Hutch studies fruit flies to discover molecular pieces of the obesity puzzle.
Media Contact: Jonathan Rabinovitz | [email protected] 

New analysis says prostate cancer screening more effective at reducing mortality than previously reported
Based on two previous clinical trials that provided conflicting views of the value of prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines currently recommend against use of the PSA test. But researchers using new statistical techniques to re-analyze the old studies found greater agreement than previously understood. “What we’re trying to do here is go beyond the straightforward analyses to get the real message from these numbers,” said Dr. Ruth Etzioni, a Fred Hutch biostatistician and senior author of a paper in Annals of Internal Medicine. “And what these numbers are telling us is that prostate cancer screening works.”
Media Contact: Claire Hudson | [email protected] 

Fred Hutch researchers explore factors that prevent metastatic cancer cells from spreading to skeletal muscle
Metastatic cancer cells rarely spread to skeletal muscle. Bioengineer and cancer researcher Dr. Cyrus Ghajar and colleagues are exploring factors that may provide this protection, hoping to recreate an environment that could make vulnerable organs less hospitable to the spread of cancer cells. This work is  supported by a new $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation.
Media Contact: Jonathan Rabinovitz | [email protected] 

Dr. Denise Galloway receives National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award to advance study of cancer-causing viruses
Dr. Denise Galloway, who directs the Pathogen-Associated Malignancies Integrated Research Center at Fred Hutch and studies cancer-related viruses, has received a National Cancer Institute 2017 Outstanding Investigator Award. The award provides more than $7 million over seven years, funding to pursue deeper insights into two viruses that cause cancer: human papillomaviruses (HPVs) and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV). Media Contact: Jonathan Rabinovitz | [email protected]

Hutch researchers engineer complex TCR immunotherapy that may target relapsing leukemia
Researchers at Fred Hutch and the University of Washington have developed a novel way to genetically engineer T cells that may be effective for treating and preventing leukemia relapse. The findings of their laboratory study, recently published online in the journal Blood, provide the basis for launching a first-in-human clinical trial of this new T-cell receptor immunotherapy. Dr. Marie Bleakley, a clinical researcher, and her colleagues targeted a specific “minor histocompatibility antigen” found on the surface of leukemia cells in some patients. Because these antigens are expressed predominantly on blood-forming cells, targeting them could provide a potent and selective anti-leukemia treatment with little risk to other cells.
Media Contact: Sandy Van | [email protected] 

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At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.