Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Tip Sheet: Cancer health disparities, app to stop smoking, diversity in COVID-19 vaccine trials — and more

Summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news, plus resources for October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Newswise — SEATTLE – Oct. 1, 2020 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news with links for additional background and media contacts.

And if you’re looking for sources for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please see our breast cancer page for a list of projects, experts and the latest breast cancer news.

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Health disparities

How to achieve equity in cancer care, research and beyond Two national reports by the American Association for Cancer Research illustrate both the progress — and the lack thereof — in easing the burden of cancer on the American population. Co-author Dr. Christopher Li discussed the 10th annual Cancer Progress Report in an AACR Congressional briefing. The report includes new drug approvals, genomic advances and progress in liquid biopsies. In addition, the AACR published its inaugural Cancer Disparities Progress Report, a baseline document on the inequities in cancer in the U.S.

We still have so much work to do’ Longtime health disparities researcher Kathy Briant discussed the inaugural Cancer Disparities Progress Report from AACR. She put it into context with Fred Hutch/University of Washington Cancer Consortium research in areas where cancer health disparities exist — including preventable risk factors and cancer screening/early detection.

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COVID-19 vaccines

CoVPN team leads campaign to ensure diversity in COVID-19 vaccine trials Fred Hutch-based experts have engaged in extensive media efforts to drive conversations and awareness about the importance of inclusive participation in COVID-19 vaccine trials. The effort is through the COVID-19 Prevention Network, or CoVPN, which is coordinating Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials, with its operations center headquartered at Fred Hutch.

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Clinical oncology

Immunotherapy trial in advanced bladder and other urinary tract cancers shows ‘exciting’ results In a recently published large randomized clinical trial, researchers found that patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma survived longer when given the immunotherapy drug avelumab following chemotherapy. They reported preliminary trial findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in early summer.

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Prevention

Fred Hutch-led clinical trial shows new smartphone app helps smokers quit Scientists at Fred Hutch believe they’ve found a better of use of mobile technology to help adult cigarette smokers quit. In a large clinical trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a team led by Dr. Jonathan Bricker found that the new smartphone app iCanQuit was one-and-a-half times more effective than the National Cancer Institute’s QuitGuide.

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Basic sciences

Fruit flies add more weight to theory that individual bodies have set points Researchers discovered that a neural circuit responsible for sensing energy stores is designed to reset itself. The idea that we may have weight set points — a weight that an individual’s body tries to maintain even as food intake and energy expenditure fluctuate — has been floated by obesity researchers to help explain why weight loss can be such a challenge.

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COVID-19’s impact on science

We profiled how Fred Hutch researchers have shifted their science during the pandemic.

·         How COVID-19 has opened science: An urgent search for answers promotes a faster, freer exchange of ideas.

·         Public health's pandemic pivot: With disease modeling, virtual events and a renewed focus on anti-racism, Fred Hutch population scientists adapt their work to COVID-19.

·         Stalled science, missed mates and virtual everything: Torn between science and safety concerns, young scientists navigate a new normal as they try to launch their careers.

·         Everything we've been training for is happening now’: How early career virologists dropped everything to seize the opportunity, and face the challenges, of studying COVID-19.

Watch: How COVID-19 changed science Dr. Tom Lynch, Fred Hutch president and director, talks with Drs. Ruth Etzioni (a biostatistician focused on cancer screening and early detection), Jesse Bloom (an evolutionary biologist and expert in viruses) and Neel Dey (a physician-scientist and expert in colorectal cancer and the microbiome) about how their work has shifted, including new projects with COVID-19.

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Other notable news

Fred Hutch Evergreen Fund awards six grants for projects with commercial potential

New award to develop targeted treatments for pancreatic cancer

New Brave Fellowship powers Dr. Alyssa Webster’s race for new leukemia cures

 

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Newswise: New Study Details Enzyme That Allows Coronavirus to Resist Antiviral Medications
Released: 3-Aug-2021 12:20 PM EDT
New Study Details Enzyme That Allows Coronavirus to Resist Antiviral Medications
Iowa State University

A new Iowa State University study details the structure of a critical enzyme present in SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This enzyme removes nucleoside antiviral medications from the virus’s RNA, rendering many treatments ineffective. Scientists could use data uncovered in the new study to find ways to inhibit the enzyme, possibly leading to more effective treatments.

Released: 2-Aug-2021 6:05 PM EDT
Rethinking Remdesivir
University of California San Diego Health

UC San Diego researchers modify remdesivir, creating oral version that can be taken earlier in COVID-19 diagnoses. In cell and animal studies, revised drug proved effective and safe.

Newswise: Researchers from Hackensack Meridian University Medical Center and Colleagues Develop New Model to Help Clinicians Predict Risk of Death in Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19
Released: 2-Aug-2021 4:25 PM EDT
Researchers from Hackensack Meridian University Medical Center and Colleagues Develop New Model to Help Clinicians Predict Risk of Death in Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19
Hackensack Meridian Health

New COVID-19 40-day mortality risk model, published in The Public Library of Science ONE, has potential for use in patient treatment planning, comparisons of therapeutic strategies, and public-health preparations.

Released: 2-Aug-2021 4:05 PM EDT
Town Hall on Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccination in Immunosuppressed Patients Hosted by the American College of Rheumatology
American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

How effective COVID-19 vaccines have been in immunosuppressed and rheumatic disease patients remains an incompletely answered question. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has organized an expert panel to share what we are learning from real-world data and answer questions.

Released: 2-Aug-2021 2:00 PM EDT
CDC withdrawing its request for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test does not mean the test failed
Newswise

Social media is now rife with claims about why the CDC is withdrawing its request for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test after December 2021.

Newswise: Existing Drug Is Shown to Inhibit Virus That Causes COVID-19
Released: 2-Aug-2021 1:30 PM EDT
Existing Drug Is Shown to Inhibit Virus That Causes COVID-19
Argonne National Laboratory

Scientists using the Advanced Photon Source have discovered that a drug used to fight tumors in animals might be effective against many types of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

Released: 2-Aug-2021 11:25 AM EDT
Award-Winning Journalist and CDC Principal Investigator to Serve as ACR Convergence 2021 Keynote Speaker
American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

Convergence 2021, the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), returns to a virtual meeting platform Nov. 1 - 10. This year’s meeting will include presentations from over 320 clinicians, researchers and health experts, including this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Seema Yasmin.

Newswise: COVID-19: Small Sign of Hope as Vaccinations Rise
Released: 2-Aug-2021 10:45 AM EDT
COVID-19: Small Sign of Hope as Vaccinations Rise
Cedars-Sinai

As COVID-19 cases spike in Los Angeles and throughout the Golden State, driven by the spread of the delta variant among unvaccinated residents, there may be a small sign of hope: More people are finally getting their shot.

Newswise: New Evidence Shows the COVID-19 Delta Variant Rapidly Rising
Released: 31-Jul-2021 10:05 AM EDT
New Evidence Shows the COVID-19 Delta Variant Rapidly Rising
University of Miami Health System, Miller School of Medicine

The University’s coronavirus sequencing effort uncovered that there are several variants present in its patient population, but Delta is chief among them and easily transmitted. And its presence is likely triggering a local surge in the infectious disease. University of Miami researchers and physicians are seeing firsthand how rapidly the Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading through the local population.


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