Newswise — SEATTLE — November 2, 2022 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center research findings and other news.

If you’re looking for sources for November’s Lung and Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Months, please see our lung cancer, həliʔil program and pancreatic cancer pages for a list of projects, experts and the latest news.

Cancer research

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center receives $710.5 million gift to accelerate cancer and infectious disease research The Bezos family has committed $710.5 million over the next decade to accelerate Fred Hutch’s multifaceted approach to scientific discovery. The gift supports the organization’s efforts to dramatically accelerate the pace and breadth of medical breakthroughs in cancer and infectious disease by tapping the full potential of today’s science. The gift will support recruitment, research facilities, clinical research infrastructure and expansion of immunotherapy research.

New approach could make bone marrow transplantation safer, stronger Bone marrow transplants have transformed care for patients with blood cancers, but one of the drawbacks of the treatment is graft-vs.-host disease — a common side effect that occurs when the transplanted cells see the recipient’s healthy tissues as foreign and attack them. In a study published in Science Immunology, a Fred Hutch team has shown a new approach that prevented relapse in laboratory models of bone marrow transplantation to treat leukemia and multiple myeloma.

Award will fund research into new metastatic prostate cancer therapies A three-year, $750,000 grant from the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation will allow Fred Hutch researchers to study therapies for metastatic prostate cancer. Dr. John Lee and Fred Hutch collaborators Drs. Pete Nelson and Roland Strong to explore new treatments, specifically through the use of immunotherapy.

Cancer chemo side effects and how to limit them Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Gary Lyman, a longtime thought leader within the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), along with three colleagues, recently published an analysis in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology offering a broad overview of common, acute chemotherapy-associated adverse events and how to manage or prevent them.

Dr. Ruth Etzioni receives $7.4M NCI grant to assess new cancer diagnostics Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Ruth Etzioni has received a seven-year Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute to pursue her work on new cancer diagnostics. The award, which comes with around $7.4 million in funding, will allow Etzioni and her team to build frameworks and tools to evaluate novel cancer diagnostics such as new nuclear imaging modalities and multi-cancer early detection tests, commonly referred to as liquid biopsies.

Infectious disease

Researching herpes treatments with 'skin-on-chip' technology Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Jia Zhu leads a group of researchers studying herpes simplex viruses, which are responsible for periodic outbreaks of cold sores in the mouth (HSV-1) or for recurrent ulcers in genitals (HSV-2). With their new device, which she calls a “skin-on-chip” platform, Zhu and her team have built and tested a prototype tool that could help researchers speed the development of human herpes treatments.

Health equity

Spokane Regional Health District: Gaps in cancer care experienced in Spokane For their podcast “Cancer Health Equity Now,” members of Fred Hutch’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement held a roundtable discussion with staff from Sunnyside, Spokane and Seattle. They discussed the future of health equity work and reflected on the work of the past year.

Understanding tribal communities and cancer through storytelling, art Fred Hutch’s Public Art and Community Dialogue Program selected artist, storyteller and Lower Elwha S’Klallam Tribe member Roger Fernandes to create a new mural. He believes storytelling and art can help do this by tapping into peoples’ unconscious, spiritual side and giving them strength and hope.

Awards and other news

Dr. Larry Corey receives Alexander Fleming Award At a Washington, D.C. conference on infectious disease science, Dr. Larry Corey, a virologist and former president and director of Fred Hutch, was presented with a lifetime achievement award. The award, given by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, was created in 1964 in honor of the late Dr. Alexander Fleming.

Dr. Anat Zimmer receives AAUW fellowship Computational biologist Dr. Anat Zimmer, a post-doctoral researcher in Dr. Gavin Ha’s lab at Fred Hutch, was awarded a 2022-23 fellowship by the American Association of University Women. Zimmer, who relocated with her family from Israel, joined Fred Hutch in the summer of 2021. Her interests include systems biology and applying computational tools to study, predict and prevent human diseases.

Merkel cell carcinoma researcher Dr. Nick Salisbury named Brave Fellow Postdoctoral researcher Dr. Nick Salisbury was just named the third recipient to receive the Brave Fellowship at Fred Hutch. Funded by Brooks Running on behalf of the Brave Like Gabe Foundation, the goal of the fellowship is to develop scientific leaders who will advocate for a diverse and inclusive biomedical research workforce focused on rare cancer research.The fellowship will fund Salisbury’s research on Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer caused by the Merkel cell polyomavirus.

Fred Hutch hosts inaugural Dr. E. Donnall Thomas Symposium Leading researchers from around the globe visited Seattle to discuss the future of transplantation, gene and cellular therapies at the inaugural Dr. E. Donnall Thomas Symposium. Among the participants celebrating his legacy was Dr. Rainer Storb, one of the original Fred Hutch scientists who worked with Thomas and still heads the Transplantation Biology Program; and graduate student David Granadier, whose poster about regeneration of the thymus gland was awarded top prize by conference organizers.

Science spotlight Science Spotlight is a monthly installment of articles written by postdoctoral fellows at Fred Hutch that summarize new research papers from Hutch scientists.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center unites comprehensive care and advanced research to provide the latest cancer treatment options and accelerate discoveries that prevent, treat and defeat cancer and infectious diseases worldwide.

Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is an independent, nonprofit organization and the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington. We have earned a global reputation for our track record of discoveries in cancer, infectious disease and basic research, including important advances in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy and COVID-19 vaccines. Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services and has network affiliations with hospitals in four states. Fred Hutch also serves as UW Medicine’s cancer program.

Please note that our organization was renamed Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in April 2022, following the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.