Tip Sheet: Advances in understanding colorectal cancer; early results in trial of immunotherapy for myeloma; HIV and lung cancer; and single-cell RNA-sequencing

SEATTLE – Jan. 7, 2019 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts.

Article ID: 706102

Released: 7-Jan-2019 4:05 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Newswise — Personalized Medicine and Colorectal Cancer

Study unveils 40 new mutations linked to colorectal cancer

Last month, Nature Genetics published the most comprehensive genome-wide association study (GWAS) of colorectal cancer risk which highlighted 40 new genetic variants and 55 previously identified variants that signal an increased risk of colon cancer. The study, led by a team of investigators at Fred Hutch, also identified the first rare protective variant for sporadic colorectal cancer. Sporadic colorectal cancers have no known familial syndrome and account for the vast majority of colorectal cancer cases. Together, these findings are a significant step toward creating personalized screening strategies and better informing drug development for colorectal cancer.

Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org, 206.667.7365 

Clinical trials and Immunotherapy

‘Exciting’ but early results in trial of immunotherapy for myeloma

Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Damian Green is leading the first clinical trial to give patients a new experimental immune-harnessing therapy for myeloma. The trial, which is designed to enroll a total of 25 participants, involves genetically engineering CARs into patient’s own immune cells. Dr. Green reported initial results from the patients that have already participated in the trial at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in December. After an average of about five months of follow-up, Dr. Green is “very optimistic” about the potential for this strategy.

Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

HIV and Lung Cancer

Exploring why people with HIV have a higher risk of lung cancer

Lung cancer is becoming a leading cause of cancer death for people with HIV. On the 30th annual World AIDS Day, Dec.1st 2018, Fred Hutch researchers announced the start of a new study that will look at why those who are HIV-positive are at a higher risk for developing lung cancer and why they develop it at a younger age. The Smoking and Age study (SAGE) will enroll 120 men and women at risk for lung cancer due to a history of smoking, 60 of whom are HIV-positive, and 60 people who are HIV-negative.

Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org, 206.667.7365

Philanthropy

From Everest to the snows of Kilimanjaro

After summiting Mount Everest last year to raise money for cancer research at Fred Hutch, Seattle biotechnology writer Luke Timmerman, will climb Mount Kilimanjaro this July with a goal of raising $1 million for Fred Hutch. So far 20 participants including Fred Hutch’s VP of Philanthropy and a postdoctoral immunotherapy fellow, are signed up to join him, each pledging to raise $50,000.

Media contact: Tom Kim, tomkim@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6240

Immunology and Clinical Research

Fred Hutch collaborates with new Allen Institute for Immunology

Fred Hutch will collaborate with the new Allen Institute for Immunology, a new division of the Allen Institute that was announced last month. The new Institute will work directly with Fred Hutch and other leading clinical research organizations to better understand the dynamic balancing act of the human immune system in maintaining health and how it goes wrong when we’re ill. The Allen Institute for Immunology’s goal is to improve human immune health and lay the groundwork for better ways to diagnose, treat and prevent immune-related diseases. 

Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

Computational Biology

‘Let the cells tell the story’

New technology is giving scientists unprecedented insights into single cells’ inner workings. Fred Hutch researchers can use high-throughput single-cell RNA sequencing to gain insight about which genes are on and off in individual cells. This gives researchers nuanced information about how specific cell populations change after cancer treatment. Scientists are using this new technology to detect differences between cells or even entirely new cell populations. By using high-throughput techniques to analyze enormous amounts of cells in a single experiment, researchers can see what cells are doing at any given time, thereby revolutionizing the field.

Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

December Recognitions

Researchers at Fred Hutch are often recognized for their work. We are proud to celebrate their achievements and grateful to the awarding organizations.

Drs. Denise Galloway and Hans-Peter Kiem receive endowed chairs

Bone marrow transplant survival rates recognized nationally

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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 National Cancer Institute-funded 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.

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