Fred Hutch is a world-leader in research to find new HIV prevention methods and a cure for HIV:
Home of the world’s largest publicly-funded HIV vaccine trials network — Fred Hutch researchers lead the largest publicly-funded HVTN, an international collaboration dedicated to finding a safe and effective vaccine against HIV that could be used globally. The HVTN is the largest research network devoted to preventive HIV vaccines. The network’s trial sites are located at leading research institutions across five continents. The HVTN is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Larry Corey and Executive Director Dr. Jim Kublin.
One of the first HIV vaccine clinical trial sites – The Seattle Vaccine Trials Unit (VTU), one of more than 30 clinical sites for the HVTN, was one of the first sites to conduct an HIV vaccine trial. The unit, led by Dr. Julie McElrath, has worked with more than 1800 vaccine volunteers and 300 cohort volunteers to safely and effectively conduct vaccine and observational studies. A strong community relationship continues to enhance the VTU’s ability to recruitment of volunteers and educate the community about the research. Learn more >
Investigating why some people who are HIV-positive stay symptom-free — Studies at the VTU led by Drs. Julie McElrath, Jennifer Lund and colleagues are investigating why “long-term non-progressors” and “elite controllers” – the one percent of patients with HIV who can naturally control the virus without medication – are able to control their infections. The goal of this research is to gain insights that could someday identify the protective mechanism that would prevent HIV progression and improve outcomes among a much broader group of patients with HIV. Learn more >
Understanding HIV immunology at sites of exposure – Working with volunteers, the VTU collects mucosal samples for research. These samples are taken from areas of the body that are often the first to get exposed to HIV, such as the vagina and rectum. Our scientists use these samples to better understand how the body could best fight HIV infection. This knowledge will further help in the development of a preventive HIV vaccine as well as other HIV prevention methods such as microbicides.
Testing vaccines – To accelerate the search for a preventive HIV vaccine, researchers are collaborating with academic, biotech and industry partners to better understand how natural immune responses can be enhanced by the immunity sparked by vaccines. Researchers are working to define the qualities of the human immune response to vaccines that correlate to protection from infection. This includes the study of mucous membranes to understand what might make a vaccine more effective, or how disease progression could be prevented. Learn more >
Making HIV vulnerable to immunotherapy — Research by Dr. Julie Overbaugh and colleagues may provide important clues for designing an HIV vaccine. The researchers found that two simple mutations in a particular subtype of HIV-1 could make it vulnerable to attack by the body's immune system. These findings may form the foundation for vaccines that help the body to fight off HIV. Learn more >
Using statistics to unravel global HIV — The Hutch is home to the SCHARP. Led by Dr. Peter Gilbert, the SCHARP center provides statistical support and data management to researchers worldwide and conducts a statistical methodology and mathematical modeling research program. SCHARP also collects, manages and analyzes data from clinical trials and studies dedicated to eliminating HIV/AIDS and serves as the Statistical and Data Management Center for the HVTN, MTN and HPTN. Learn more »
Understanding HIV's ancient origins — Why are humans vulnerable to HIV today? The answer may lie in evidence of human immunity to a virus that infected chimpanzees 4 million years ago, according to research by Drs. Michael Emerman and Harmit Malik. Learn more >
Curbing the spread of HIV in women — Research led by Drs. Florian Hladik and Julie McElrath could lead to new strategies to prevent HIV transmission in women. The researchers identified two different types of immune cells in the vagina that HIV enters simultaneously. Their findings could inform prevention measures that address vaginal HIV infection. Learn more >
Developing new approaches to vaccination — Dr. Ann Duerr leads innovative research to advance the search for an effective HIV vaccine. Duerr is examining whether vaccines can be more effective if they are administered through mucosal surfaces, such as the nose and mouth, instead of the blood stream. Learn more >