Human Biology Division

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Integrating fundamental, applied and translational scientists to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer and other diseases.

Human Biology researchers come together to form a multidisciplinary team that is influenced by individual advances. Their diverse expertise include molecular and cell biology, genomics, genetics, virology, infectious disease, computational biology, pathology and clinical research. Grounded in high-quality basic science, the research performed in Human Biology blends fundamental, applied, and translational research performed in model organisms and in vitro systems.


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Identifying patients with prostate cancer that are at high risk of relapse is imperative to giving them early treatment options. Dr. Andrew Hsieh has identified two biomarkers that may improve oncologists' ability to predict patients' prostate cancer will recur after surgery.
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Natural language processing (NLP) is the method of translating human (or "natural") language into data that computers can analyze. NLP is being used to evaluate information from consenting patients' files - from medical history to disease staging - stored in the the Hutch Integrated Data Repository and Archive (HIDRA). Researchers use this information to find patterns in cancer development, progression and treatment response.
Read more about Natural language processing and HIDRA  >
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Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines protect against the types of HPV that cause anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers. Most vaccines prevent infections by generating antibodies (Abs), yet it has been unclear why some vaccines provide long-term or even life-long protection, while others such as the tetanus toxoid vaccine (TT), require boosters.
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As with many other types of cancer, patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) that have not responded to surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, have limited treatment options after the disease has spread. A Fred Hutch study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, led by Russell Moser and Dr. Chang Xu, in the Kemp (Human Biology and Public Health Sciences Divisions) and Méndez (Clinical Research Division) labs, respectively, with significant contribution by the lab of Dr. Carla Grandori (Human Biology Division), sought to identify new therapeutic targets for this disease.
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Muscle cells and neurons are very different both in their form and function. However, by manipulating a segment of a muscle-specific protein with a corresponding segment of neuronal protein pushes that cell down the path of neuronal development. Dr. Stephen Tapscott is investigating how these mutations in the key proteins can affect cancer and muscular dystrophy.
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A new Fred Hutch study led by graduate student Kris Blair in the lab of Dr. Nina Salama and collaborators from the University of British Columbia, solved the structure of the gene Csd4 in order to elucidate its mechanism of action. The Csda4 gene is in the bacterium Helicobacter pylori which is estimated to persistently infect about half of the world's population.
Read more about their findings  >
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Together Fred Hutch, UW Medicine and SCCA are working to develop the most precise treatment options for patients with solid tumor cancers. The primary goal is to translate laboratory sciences into the most precise treatment options for patients with solid tumor cancers.
Learn more about STTR >
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Glioblastomas (GBMs) are the most common and deadly form of brain cancer. They can be divided into different classes based on the varying characteristics. Drs. Tatsuya Ozawa and Eric Holland have addressed the question of the clinical relevance of GBMs subtypes, and whether they originate from a common precursor.
Read more about Dr. Ozawa and Dr. Holland's findings  >
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The most recent World AIDS Day serves as a timely reminder that an HIV-1 vaccine remains a major goal in biomedical science. Macaque models of HIV-1 infection have been instrumental in pre-clinical and passive immunization studies. However, due to species-specific barriers, HIV-1 cannot establish a long-term infection in macaque cells.
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Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) are essential for sustained production of red and white blood cells. Although HSPC transplantation has a wide variety of clinical applications, HSPCs are difficult to expand ex vivo, highlighting the need to understand their basic biology. In a new study published in Epigenetics and Chromatin, Dr. Xiaoji Chen, a former graduate student in the lab of Dr. Patrick Paddison along with their collaborators, addressed the role of G9a /GLP in controlling chromatin structure in HSPCs.
Read more about their findings  >
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