Tip Sheet: HIV Exclusions in Clinical Trials; Lack of Diversity in Genetic Research; And Advances in Bladder Cancer

SEATTLE – July 1, 2019 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts.


HIV and Cancer

Opening cancer clinical trials to people with HIV
A study published in JAMA Oncology led by Fred Hutch researchers is one of the first studies to evaluate the safety of immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients with HIV. The study found pembrolizumab, also known by its brand name, KEYTRUDA®, had a similar safety profile in people with HIV and cancer to that noted in clinical trials in cancer patients who were HIV negative. The study findings strengthen the case for opening the door to cancer clinical trials for people with HIV.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org, 206.667.7365
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Health Disparities

Lack of diversity in genetic research is risky
A new multicenter analysis led by researchers at Fred Hutch, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and other institutions found the inclusion of diverse, multiethnic populations in large-scale genomic studies is critical for reducing health disparities and accurately representing genetics-related disease risks in all populations. The results appeared in the June 19th issue of the journal Nature. Genetic association studies look for genes or regions of the genome that contribute to a disease, but most genome-wide association studies to date have centered on populations of European ancestry. Because genetic architecture differs across racially and ethnically diverse populations, drawing universal conclusions from a limited sample can be misleading and even more dangerous, can exacerbate health care disparities.
Media contact: Sandy Van, svan2@fredhutch.org, 808.526.1708

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Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy prevents relapse in small leukemia trial
For patients with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia, more than 60% will relapse within two years of a bone marrow transplant, but Fred Hutch scientists are finding a way to protect them from their cancer returning. In a small trial, the scientists used T cells with an engineered T-cell receptor that targets a cancer marker – an immunotherapy approach known as TCR. The 12 patients who received the experimental T-cell therapy remain cancer-free after a median follow-up of more than three years.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

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Prevention  

How to talk to parents about the HPV vaccine 
Spread by intimate contact, Human papillomavirus is found in almost all sexually active adults. It’s usually harmless and goes away on its own but when it doesn’t, it can cause a number of devastating cancers including cervical, anal, penile, vulvar and most head and neck cancers. In the U.S., HPV is responsible for over 33,000 cancer diagnoses annually; last year, cervical cancer alone killed 311,000 women worldwide. While the HPV vaccine effectively prevents many cancers, uptake is low in the United States. Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Parth Shah recently presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting about how to increase HPV vaccine uptake in the U.S.
Media contact:
Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org, 206.667.7365

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Human Biology

New insights into advanced bladder cancer A first-of-its kind rapid autopsy program is helping reveal the molecular characteristics of advanced bladder cancers — and point the way toward better treatment strategies for these deadly, understudied tumors. In a new study, Fred Hutch researchers described molecular differences in two different types of bladder cancer that had spread, or metastasized, through the body. The team’s analysis revealed potential therapeutic vulnerabilities in these metastatic tumors. They discovered that for 70% of potentially druggable targets, a biopsy of a single metastasis may be enough to help oncologists tailor a treatment regimen that targets all of a patient’s tumors. 
Media contact: Tom Kim, tomkim@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6240

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May 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. Jeanne Ting Chowning, Denise Galloway receive Seattle AWIS awards

Happy Birthday, Hutch! Celebrating our namesake’s 100th

Washington Global Health Alliance honors Fred Hutch in two Global Health Pioneer Awards

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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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