Tip Sheet: Strategies for an HIV cure; early detection for lung cancer disease; and a look at blood clots and cancer

SEATTLE – April 10, 2019 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts.


Vaccines and Infectious Diseases

London transplant doctors report a 2nd person likely to be cured of HIV
This month, the case of a second person potentially cured of the HIV virus was announced. Drs. Keith Jerome and Hans-Peter Kiem, who co-lead the HIV cure research program based at Fred Hutch, commented on the recent findings. The program, known as defeatHIV, is investigating cell and gene therapy approaches to an HIV cure and is one of six research groups nationally funded by the National Institutes of Health to advance public- and private-sector initiatives to finding a cure to HIV.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org 206.667.7365

Clinical Research

Earlier detection for a deadly lung disease Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, or BOS, is a rare but deadly complication of blood stem cell transplant that impacts about 5 percent of the 9,000 patients who undergo allogenic bone marrow transplant each year. BOS unfortunately often isn’t diagnosed until irreversible drug damage has occurred. Fred Hutch Dr. Guang-Shing Cheng is working to break the cycle of late diagnosis by launching a new clinical trial that aims to catch BOS before symptoms start. The study relies on a test that measures how much air a person can exhale, and through a smartphone app, Cheng and her team can track any changes in a person’s ability to do this. The hope is that this trial will pave the way for earlier interventions and better patient outcomes.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

Public Health Sciences

Blood clots: What cancer patients need to
Blood clots are the next leading cause of death in cancer patients after cancer itself. They are a side effect of both treatment and the biological nature of the disease. Cancer thickens the blood, releasing substances that make it “sticky”, so clots form more easily, and treatment can exacerbate the risk. At Fred Hutch, Dr. Gary Lyman is studying how best to prevent blood clots in cancer patients at highest risk. The recently published CASSINI trial tested a new oral blood thinner among high risk cancer patients. While the study found no significant reduction in blood clots, it did find a significantly lower incidence of clots while patients were actively taking the drug. Data from this trial as well as another similar trial called the AVERT study may inform updated national guidelines for the treatment of cancer patients.  
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org 206.667.7365

Prevention

Washington state poised to raise age of tobacco, vaping purchase to 21
On April 5th, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the state’s new “Tobacco 21” legislation. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, it will be illegal under Washington law for people under age 21 to purchase tobacco or vaping products. The new law will save lives from cancer and other diseases by preventing tobacco use and addiction in the critical teen and young-adult years. A 2015 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine projected that Tobacco 21 laws could have a substantial effect on smoking rates and smoking-related deaths. At Fred Hutch, Dr. Jonathan Bricker is testing several different methods, such as smartphone apps, chatbots and telephone counseling to help people overcome nicotine addiction and other harmful habits.
Media contact: Tom Kim, tomkim@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6240

NextGen Scientists

Fred Hutch announces 2019 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients
Last month, Fred Hutch announced the 2019 recipients of the annual Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in graduate studies in the biological sciences. Nominations for this prestigious award are solicited internationally. This year’s 13 awardees come from academic institutions around the United States, including Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School, Indiana University, Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco. The awardees study a range of biological questions including how cells divide, interactions between bacteria and the hosts they infect, and brain regulation of hunger and thirst. The recipients will travel to Fred Hutch May 3rd to attend a scientific symposium where they will present their findings from their respective research.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

March Recognitions

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

Dr. Veena Shankaran named 2019 Leader in Health Care 

Fred Hutch’s Dr. Adam Dingens a 2019 Weintraub Award recipient

Dr. Heather Wright receives NIH training fellowship to study pancreatic cancer metastasis

Dr. Holly Harris receives 2 grants to research endometriosis

Drs. Fred Appelbaum and Phil Greenberg elected to AACR Academy

Hutch CIO gives keynote at Hopperx1 women-in-tech conference

Dr. Yiting Lim named AACR NextGen Star

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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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