Diseases & Research

Our world-class scientists, including three Nobel Laureates, have revolutionized prevention, detection and treatment for several cancers and other diseases. The following are some of the cancers and other diseases that we research:

From basic biology to programs that enhance the quality of life for survivors, our world-renowned scientists take an innovative and comprehensive approach to understanding and eliminating more than two dozen types of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Research Overview

Dr. Julie Overbaugh

Hutchinson Center scientists are developing new methods to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists are producing some of the most important breakthroughs in the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our scientists study the disease process from every angle – from the most basic, molecular and cellular level to a broad, population-based approach – to uncover the factors that influence a person’s likelihood of getting cancer, and using this knowledge to reduce risk and save lives. Our research covers a broad range of topics, including:

  • Fundamental Science – The Center’s Basic Sciences Division answers fundamental biological questions and produces new insights on the basic biology of life processes and cancer development.
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  • Prevention – Our researchers work to prevent cancer and other diseases before they develop, including HIV, in the quest to help people live healthier lives.
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  • Early Detection – The earlier cancer and other diseases can be detected, the sooner and more successfully they can be addressed. Our investigators are identifying novel methods for more efficient, accurate and less invasive ways to find diseases as early as possible, when the potential to cure them is strongest.
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  • Treatment & Cures – The Center pioneered bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of blood cancers, one of the greatest advancements in the history of medicine. Today our scientists are advancing transplantation and other therapies across a broad range of diseases.
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  • Survivorship – The Center conducts research that addresses the long- and short-term physical, psychological, social and economic effects of cancer and its treatment. This ongoing expertise has helped establish us as a leader in the emerging field of survivorship care, education and research.
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Fundamental Research

Cellular and molecular mechanisms

Our researchers investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind disease.

The Center's world-renowned faculty seek answers to fundamental biological questions. Our investigators:

  • Make landmark discoveries about key biological processes. For example, Dr. Linda Buck received a 2004 Nobel Prize for her work identifying the neurological mechanisms that govern the sense of smell.
  • Study suspended animation, a technique that one day could help trauma patients survive and keep human organs viable for longer periods before they’re transplanted.
  • Discovered the mechanisms responsible for making cells grow and divide -- a breakthrough that in 2001 earned former Center President and Director Emeritus Dr. Lee Hartwell a Nobel Prize.
  • Win science's most prestigious awards. Our fundamental researchers include a Nobel laureate, a MacArthur Fellow and multiple fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Several faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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Two people running

Our prevention researchers make discoveries that allow people to lead healthier lives.

The Center is home to the nation’s first and largest cancer prevention program. Our prevention researchers identify ways to reduce an individual’s likelihood of developing cancer and pursue vaccines to prevent cancer, HIV and other major diseases. Our achievements include:

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Early Detection

Blood Cells

Our investigators develop blood tests that could detect cancers in their most treatable stages.

Center researchers seek new ways to detect cancer at its earliest stages, when a patient's chances of survival are greatest. One of the keys to this effort is the discovery of biomarkers—proteins and other molecules that indicate the presence of disease. In addition to leading an international project to discover new cancer biomarkers, our investigators:

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Treatments & Cures


Our researchers are using revolutionary immunotherapies such as of cancer-fighting T cells to melt away tumors.

Our researchers pioneered bone marrow transplantation, a procedure that has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. This discovery set the stage for our pursuit of innovative treatments and cures for cancers, HIV and other diseases. Center investigators:

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A couple sailing

The Center leads a nationwide effort to help survivors flourish in their lives after cancer.

Our research examines the physical, psychological, social and economic effects of cancer and its treatment, and the Center is a world leader in the emerging field of survivor care. Our investigators:

  • Lead one of the nation's first Survivorship Programs, where researchers learn more about cancer treatment's long-term effects.
  • Provide critical data, through our renowned Long-Term Follow-Up Program, that help prevent and treat transplantation’s long-term effects.
  • Learn why survivors suffer severe musculoskeletal pain and other ailments, with hopes of developing new treatments.
  • Conduct advanced research on how to maximize childhood cancer survivors' quality of life.

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Research Highlights

A summary of each year's most important and impactful research findings made by Hutchinson Center scientists.

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Featured Researchers

Bioengineer and cancer researcher
A “whimsical” decision to study bioengineering started Dr. Cyrus Ghajar on a path that has led him to a new frontier in cancer research — one that could eventually lead to new methods for preventing cancer’s spread

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Licensing Opportunities

Find out about new products and services under development through the Industry Relations and Technology Transfer Office.

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world leader in research to prevent, detect and treat cancer and other life-threatening diseases.