Research Highlights


Delaying childbirth may reduce the risk of an aggressive form of breast cancer in younger women, study suggests
Younger women who wait at least 15 years after their first menstrual period to give birth to their first child may reduce their risk of an aggressive form of breast cancer by up to 60 percent, according to a Fred Hutch study.

Researchers define key events early in the process of cellular aging
For the first time, scientists at Fred Hutch have defined key events that take place early in the process of cellular aging.

International research team finds two genetic flaws behind third most common form of inherited muscular dystrophy
An international research team co-led by a scientist at Fred Hutch has identified two genetic factors behind the third most common form of muscular dystrophy.

Men on the mind: Study finds male DNA in women’s brains
Male DNA is commonly found in the brains of women, most likely derived from prior pregnancy with a male fetus, according to first-of-its-kind research conducted at Fred Hutch.

Colorectal cancer genetics research gets $13 million boost
Uncovering colon cancer’s genetic roots is the focus of a new $13 million, four-year, National Cancer Institute-funded project at Fred Hutch.

Ovarian cancer screening: Simple two-minute questionnaire that checks for six warning signs may lead to better early detection
A simple three-question paper-and-pencil survey, given to women in the doctor’s office in less than two minutes, can effectively identify those who are experiencing symptoms that may indicate ovarian cancer, according to a study by researchers at Fred Hutch.

Researchers uncover new genetic clues to why most bone marrow transplant patients develop graft-versus-host disease
A team of scientists led by a bone marrow transplant researcher at Fred Hutch has shed new light on why most bone marrow transplant patients who receive tissue-matched cells from unrelated donors still suffer acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

New genetic risk factor for inflammation identified in African American women
African Americans have higher blood levels of a protein associated with increased heart-disease risk than European Americans, despite higher “good” HDL cholesterol and lower “bad” triglyceride levels. This contradictory observation now may be explained, in part, by a genetic variant identified in the first large-scale, genome-wide association study of this protein involving 12,000 African American and Hispanic American women.

Researchers uncover how poxviruses such as smallpox evolve rapidly - despite low mutation rates
Poxviruses, a group of DNA-containing viruses that includes smallpox, are responsible for a wide range of diseases in humans and animals. They are highly virulent and able to cross species barriers, yet how they do so has been largely a mystery because of their low mutation rates.

Study finds that yo-yo dieting does not thwart weight loss - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Yo-yo dieting – the repetitive loss and regain of body weight, also called weight cycling – is prevalent in the Western world, affecting an estimated 10 percent to 40 percent of the population. The degree to which weight cycling may impact metabolism or thwart a person’s ability to lose weight in the long run has been unclear – until now.

Researchers discover new mechanism behind resistance to cancer treatment that could lead to better therapies
Developing resistance to chemotherapy is a nearly universal, ultimately lethal consequence for cancer patients with solid tumors – such as those of the breast, prostate, lung and colon – that have metastasized, or spread, throughout the body.

Health economics, patient outcome evaluation are focus of new Hutchinson Center research institute
Fred Hutch has launched a new research institute – the first of its kind among comprehensive cancer centers nationwide – dedicated to health economics and cancer outcomes research.

New clinical trial seeks to cure advanced Crohn's disease by replacing a diseased immune system with a healthy one
Researchers at Fred Hutch have opened a clinical trial to test the theory that giving a patient a new immune system can cure severe cases of Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract.

Want to lose weight? Keep a food journal, don't skip meals and avoid going out to lunch, study suggests
Women who want to lose weight should faithfully keep a food journal, and avoid skipping meals and eating in restaurants – especially at lunch – suggests new research from Fred Hutch.

Study challenges previously held beliefs about the role of genetic mutations in colon cancer development
In exploring the genetics of mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell – researchers at Fred Hutch have stumbled upon a finding that challenges previously held beliefs about the role of mutations in cancer development.

Study finds that moderate weight loss reduces levels of sex hormones linked with increased risk of breast cancer
Even a moderate amount of weight loss can significantly reduce levels of circulating estrogens that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, according to a study by researchers at Fred Hutch.

‘Orphan drug’ used to treat sleep disorders may be a potent cancer-fighting agent used for many malignancies, study finds
An inexpensive “orphan drug” used to treat sleep disorders appears to be a potent inhibitor of cancer cells, according to a new study led by scientists at Fred Hutch.

Detecting earliest signs of cancer relapse: Study finds high-throughput sequencing outpaces flow cytometry
A study led by researchers at Fred Hutch has found that a next-generation, high-speed DNA-decoding technology called high-throughput sequencing can detect the earliest signs of potential relapse in nearly twice the number of leukemia patients as compared to flow cytometry, the current gold standard for detecting minimal residual disease.

Transplanted gene-modified blood stem cells protect brain cancer patients from toxic side effects of chemotherapy
For the first time, scientists at Fred Hutch have transplanted brain cancer patients’ own gene-modified blood stem cells in order to protect their bone marrow against the toxic side effects of chemotherapy.

Presence of fetal cells in women lowers risk of breast cancer but raises risk of colon cancer
For the first time, scientists have found what could be a causative link between the concentration of circulating Y-chromosome fetal cells in women who gave birth to children of either sex and their risk of later developing breast cancer and colon cancer.

Weight loss led to reduction in inflammation
Postmenopausal women who were overweight or obese and lost at least 5 percent of their body weight had a measurable reduction in markers of inflammation, according to a study published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Study finds a link between injectable contraceptive use and increased risk of breast cancer in young women
The first large-scale U.S.-based study to evaluate the link between an injectable form of progestin-only birth control and breast cancer risk in young women has found that recent use of a year or more doubles the risk

Hutchinson Center scientists break through pancreas cancer treatment barrier
Scientists at Fred Hutch have found a way to break through the unique biological defense that pancreas cancer forms, and their research represents a potential breakthrough in the treatment of pancreatic tumors.

Study shows advance in using patients’ own tumor-fighting cells to knock back advanced melanoma
A small, early-phase clinical trial to test the effectiveness of treating patients with advanced melanoma using billions of clones of their own tumor-fighting cells combined with a specific type of chemotherapy has shown that the approach has promise.

Study shows an investigational urine test can predict high-risk prostate cancer in men who choose ‘watchful waiting’
Initial results of a multicenter study coordinated by researchers at Fred Hutch indicates that two investigational urine-based biomarkers are associated with prostate cancers that are likely to be aggressive and potentially life-threatening among men who take a “watchful waiting,” or active-surveillance approach to manage their disease.

Tracking the birth of an evolutionary arms race between HIV-like viruses and primate genomes
Using a combination of evolutionary biology and virology, scientists at Fred Hutch have traced the birth of the ability of some HIV-related viruses to defeat a newly discovered cellular-defense system in primates.

International research team discovers genes and disease mechanisms behind a common form of muscular dystrophy
Continuing a series of groundbreaking discoveries begun in 2010 about the genetic causes of the third most common form of inherited muscular dystrophy, an international team of researchers led by a scientist at Fred Hutch has identified the genes and proteins that damage muscle cells, as well as the mechanisms that can cause the disease.

Study finds a diet rich in slowly digested carbs reduces markers of inflammation in overweight and obese adults
Among overweight and obese adults, a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes and other high-fiber foods, significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with chronic disease, according to a new study by Fred Hutch.

Solving the structure of a protein that shows promise as a DNA-targeting molecule for gene correction, therapy
Researchers at Fred Hutch have solved the three-dimensional structure of a newly discovered type of gene-targeting protein that has shown to be useful as a DNA-targeting molecule for gene correction, gene therapy and gene modification.