Scientists show thin metal mesh loaded with T cells shrinks solid tumors
What if a metal that’s already used to repair broken bones, straighten teeth and keep arteries from clogging could also be used to stop your cancer from spreading? New findings published Dec. 9 in Nature Biomedical Engineering show for the first time that a piece of small, thin metal mesh loaded with cancer-fighting CAR T cells shrinks tumors in preclinical models of ovarian cancer. The findings take a step toward making cell therapies effective against solid tumors.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, [email protected], 206.667.6651

Can a 2nd dose of CAR T cells succeed when the first fails? In a recent study presented at the 2019 American Society of Hematology annual meeting, Fred Hutch scientists show an early step in informing how and whether doctors might give second doses of a CAR T-cell product. They examined 44 blood cancer patients on a clinical trial for a CAR T cells engineered to target CD19 on cancer cells. The researchers found that patients’ cancers were more likely to shrink or disappear after the second dose when that second dose contained more engineered cells than they’d gotten the first time.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, [email protected], 206.667.6651


Gene editing

CRISPR hides healthy cells from leukemia drug For years, leukemia doctors have been plagued by a toxic trade-off: A protein marker for certain cancer-killing drugs also appears on some normal blood stem cells. Hitting the mark means harming healthy and diseased cells alike. To work around that, Fred Hutch scientists used CRISPR to snip off the piece of protein called CD33 from healthy blood cells and then used a bispecific antibody to go after the go after the cancer cells. They reported reported initial results at the ASH meeting in December.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, [email protected], 206.667.6651

Study links common immune cell to failure of checkpoint inhibitors in lung cancer Results from a new study published in the journal JCI Insight could help improve treatment options for lung cancer patients. After analyzing tumor samples from 28 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, researchers linked a common immune cell called neutrophils with treatment failure. The study found that the balance between neutrophils and another type of immune cell — disease-fighting T cells — could accurately predict which patients would respond or not. If more neutrophils than T cells were crowded into a tumor, the drugs did not curb the patients’ cancers. But if the balance was reversed, checkpoint inhibitors revved up patients’ immune systems against their disease.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, [email protected], 206.667.6651



A 'historic victory,' say experts, as US raises age to buy tobacco, vaping products to 21 nationwide The federal government has raised the legal age to purchase tobacco or vaping products throughout the U.S. The new age-of-sale provisions are part of the federal 2020 budget, which funds the government through the remainder of the fiscal year. The new nationwide Tobacco 21 measure continues momentum that began with localities and states across the U.S. More than 500 U.S. jurisdictions, including 19 states have already enacted their own versions, including Fred Hutch’s home state of Washington last April. Fred Hutch researchers are actively researching the impact of tobacco use among young adults. Dr. Jonathan Bricker has found that there is significant tobacco use and relapse between ages 18 – 21. The new law will help reverse this.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, [email protected], 206.667.7665


Science on the horizon

Fred Hutch experts make predictions for science trends, advances in 2020
Easier to produce cell and gene therapies, new tech to see molecules, more guidelines on vaping, and other trends we’re watching in the new year.


December Recognitions

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

'Big, brave ideas': 44th annual Hutch Holiday Gala raises over $13 million

2 Fred Hutch leaders receive PSBJ Health Care Leadership 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.

Meeting Link: 2019 American Society of Hematology annual meeting Meeting Link: ASH meeting Journal Link: JCI Insight