Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Tip Sheet: HIV and COVID-19, antibody interactions, immune responses to colorectal cancer and how Fred Hutch is getting back to work

SEATTLE – June 2, 2020 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news with links for additional background and media contacts.

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COVID-19

Vaccinating the world: Two global experts explain what it will take to succeed
Dr. Larry Corey and Dr. John Mascola join Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Tom Lynch to discuss the challenges and opportunities in accelerating development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for our integrated world in this webinar on Friday, June 5, 2020 at 11 am PST/ 2 pm EST.

What happens when cancer patients get COVID-19?
A large new study of cancer patients with COVID-19 clearly shows patients with active cancer — or who suffer from additional comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease — have worse outcomes.

When COVID-19 crosses paths with HIV
Researchers at Fred Hutch are trying to assess whether HIV puts people at higher risk COVID-19 through a new epidemiological study of over 35,000 people living with HIV across the US. The study aims to identify risk factors for those with HIV who also had COVID-19 and understand if they are at risk of more severe infection.  

How Fred Hutch is using science to get back to doing science
Fred Hutch is tapping its decades of scientific expertise to move forward in finding ways to safely dial back up its employees on campus while supporting others working remotely. See steps being taken, plus a video of Fred Hutch’s facilities director on how his team is managing during the pandemic.

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HIV

Injectable HIV drug prevents infections
In a “real win for HIV prevention,” an international trial of an injectable drug designed to prevent HIV showed those who received it had fewer new HIV infections than those who received the once-a-day HIV prevention pill Truvada.

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Healthcare economics

NIH grant to fund new financial-toxicity intervention
A new collaboration between Fred Hutch and the SWOG Cancer Research Network will road-test a program designed to curb financial toxicity related to cancer treatment. The intervention will give cancer patients access to proactive financial counseling and financial navigators as part of their treatment plan.

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Precision medicine

Immune response in colorectal cancer: What helps, what hurts?
A new $3.66 million grant from the National Cancer Institute will help Fred Hutch researchers, part of the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, better understand the body’s natural immune response to colorectal cancer and what, exactly, drives it.

$3.5M grant to develop safer treatment for inherited blood disorders
Drs. Hans-Peter Kiem and Roland Walter will explore ways to precisely deliver powerful radioactive particles to blood and marrow cells while sparing other nonblood cells and tissues.

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Pediatric Oncology

Cancer’s toll on the heart decades down the road
Dr. Eric Chow and colleagues explore two key questions related to child cancer survivorship: Is there anything doctors can do during a child’s treatment to protect their heart? And for adult survivors, what can we do to monitor and reduce the risk of heart disease?

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Basic sciences

Studying the complex interactions between antibodies and viral targets
Dr. Tal Einav was named a Damon Runyon Quantitative Biology Fellow, which supports cancer-related computation research. He will create maps that model how complex mixes of antibodies interact.

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Other notable news

Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem elected vice president of American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy

Health equity trailblazers recognized

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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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Newswise: Historical Racial & Ethnic Health Inequities Account for Disproportionate COVID-19 Impact
22-Sep-2020 4:00 PM EDT
Historical Racial & Ethnic Health Inequities Account for Disproportionate COVID-19 Impact
American Thoracic Society (ATS)

A new Viewpoint piece published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society examines the ways in which COVID-19 disproportionately impacts historically disadvantaged communities of color in the United States, and how baseline inequalities in our health system are amplified by the pandemic. The authors also discuss potential solutions.

Released: 24-Sep-2020 5:05 PM EDT
In-person college instruction leading to thousands of COVID-19 cases per day in US
University of Washington

Reopening university and college campuses with primarily in-person instruction is associated with a significant increase in cases of COVID-19 in the counties where the schools are located.

Newswise: Some Severe COVID-19 Cases Linked to Genetic Mutations or Antibodies that Attack the Body
Released: 24-Sep-2020 3:25 PM EDT
Some Severe COVID-19 Cases Linked to Genetic Mutations or Antibodies that Attack the Body
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Two new studies offer an explanation for why COVID-19 cases can be so variable. A subset of patients has mutations in key immunity genes; other patients have auto-antibodies that target the same components of the immune system. Both circumstances could contribute to severe forms of the disease.

17-Sep-2020 1:15 PM EDT
Accuracy of commercial antibody kits for SARS-CoV-2 varies widely
PLOS

There is wide variation in the performance of commercial kits for detecting antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to a study published September 24 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Jonathan Edgeworth and Blair Merrick of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Suzanne Pickering and Katie Doores of King's College London, and colleagues. As noted by the authors, the rigorous comparison of antibody testing platforms will inform the deployment of point-of-care technologies in healthcare settings and their use in monitoring SARS-CoV-2 infections.

24-Sep-2020 9:25 AM EDT
Loneliness levels high during COVID-19 lockdown
Newswise Review

During the initial phase of COVID-19 lockdown, rates of loneliness among people in the UK were high and were associated with a number of social and health factors, according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jenny Groarke of Queen’s University Belfast, UK, and colleagues.

Newswise: Genetic, immunological abnormalities in Type I interferon pathway are risk factors for severe COVID-19
24-Sep-2020 12:35 PM EDT
Genetic, immunological abnormalities in Type I interferon pathway are risk factors for severe COVID-19
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU)

Individuals with severe forms of COVID-19 disease can present with compromised type I interferon (IFN) responses based on their genetics, according to results published in two papers today in the journal Science. Type I IFN responses are critical for protecting cells and the body from more severe disease after acute viral infection.

Newswise: Talking Alone: Researchers Use Artificial Intelligence Tools to Predict Loneliness
Released: 24-Sep-2020 1:45 PM EDT
Talking Alone: Researchers Use Artificial Intelligence Tools to Predict Loneliness
University of California San Diego Health

A team led by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine has used artificial intelligence technologies to analyze natural language patterns to discern degrees of loneliness in older adults.


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