Photo by Robert Hood/Fred Hutch
Cancer is becoming an increasingly urgent global health issue. By 2030, the worldwide cancer burden is projected to grow by nearly 70 percent, with more than two-thirds of cancer deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Already, more people in these countries die from cancer than from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
While these numbers are sobering, work conducted over the past decade by Fred Hutch and others is demonstrating that the cancer burden in these settings can be effectively addressed. Infection-related cancers offer an especially promising target for cancer prevention and treatment efforts. In parts of the developing world, up to 60 percent of cancers are caused by infectious diseases.
Among many groundbreaking achievements, Fred Hutch researchers pioneered the technique of bone marrow transplantation to treat cancer. In developing ways to control infections in immune-compromised patients, which is critical to surviving a transplant, we have opened new avenues of research into preventing and treating an array of cancers and other diseases.
Through our pioneering work in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, we are creating high-impact, low-cost diagnostic and treatment tools that have the potential for use throughout the developing world.
Fred Hutch researchers are engaged in laboratory and population research studies on viral hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV), which are among the leading cancer-causing viruses. We were instrumental in discovering the link between HPV and cervical cancer and laying the groundwork for the HPV vaccine, which is 98 percent effective in preventing cervical cancer. We are also developing cheaper, less toxic and more effective ways to target cancer-causing infections.