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Study aims to cure blood cancers with transplants that could block HIV, too

10 HIV-positive cancer patients to receive donated cord blood with rare resistance gene

Nov. 16, 2018 | By Sabin Russell / Fred Hutch News Service

Filippo Milano

Dr. Filippo Milano, associate director, Cord Blood Program

Fred Hutch file photo

Thanks to a new federal grant, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is about to lead a clinical trial offering cord blood transplants to a small group of especially vulnerable patients with blood cancers: those who also have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Cord blood transplants, which use stem cells from a newborn’s umbilical cord, are a lifesaving option for patients who cannot find a suitable match in their family and from the global network of bone marrow registries. Transplants are a potential cure for many advanced blood cancers, because they replace a patient’s damaged immune system of blood-forming cells with a healthy one from a donor with a compatible tissue type.

Although lymphomas are the most common blood cancers faced by HIV-positive patients taking antiviral drugs, they usually have options other than a transplant to treat their cancer. It is much less common for people with HIV to have leukemia, but these patients typically have no option but a transplant. The participants in this trial are therefore most likely to come from that group.

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7 misconceptions about lung cancer

Myths and misinformation still keep many people in the dark – and that’s bad news for their health

Nov. 15, 2018 | By Diane Mapes / Fred Hutch News Service

Illustration of the human body with the lungs outlined in blue

Lung cancer remains the deadliest cancer but research has led to a number of new game-changing therapies.

Illustration by Kim Westphal / Fred Hutch News Service

Lung cancer is an infuriating disease.

It kills more men and women than any other cancer yet funding for new therapies (or a cure) lags far behind other top killers. There’s an effective screening test for the disease, yet the people most at risk barely know about it.

Why does lung cancer continue to receive such little recognition and so few resources? One reason might be the murky misconceptions that surround it.

We tapped a handful of lung cancer patients and Dr. Bernardo Goulart, a physician-scientist with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, for insights into what the public — and sometimes even doctors — are getting wrong about a disease projected to kill nearly 155,000 Americans this year alone.

Here are their top takeaways.

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Two new grants to fuel metastatic breast cancer research

Drs. Erica Goddard and Mark Headley will use their awards to study how breast cancer cells spread to distant organs – and how to stop them.

Nov. 15, 2018 | By Jake Siegel / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Erica Goddard

Dr. Erica Goddard

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Two early-career investigators at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Researcher Center have received grants that will fuel their research into metastatic breast cancer. Dr. Erica Goddard, a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Cyrus Ghajar’s Laboratory for the Study of Metastatic Microenvironments, won a Breakthrough Fellowship Award from the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. She will receive a total of $528,000 over three years. 

Dr. Mark Headley, an immunologist who studies the cellular and molecular dynamics behind tumor metastasis, received an Early Career Investigator Award from METAvivor, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research for stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

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Forbes ’30 Under 30’ lists Hutch immunotherapy researcher Alex Salter

Grad student on short list of young health care influencers

Nov. 14, 2018 | by Susan Keown / Fred Hutch News Service

Photo of Alex Salter speaking to Joe Biden in a laboratory setting

Alex Salter speaks with former Vice President Joseph Biden about his research in the Riddell Lab during Biden's visit to Fred Hutch on March 21, 2016.

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Alex Salter was listed on Tuesday as a Forbes “30 Under 30,” an annual who's-who of influencers under age 30 in the U.S. and Canada. The M.D./Ph.D. student in the lab of Dr. Stan Riddell at Fred Hutch made the list of 30 standouts in the health care category.

The magazine says that the honorees in 20 categories represent “a collection of bold risk-takers putting a new twist on the old tools of the trade.”

Salter said that he is “incredibly honored” to be included on the list. “While I am still early on in my career as a physician-scientist, I look forward to making meaningful scientific contributions that will push the limits of medicine and improve lives,” he said.

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Hutch science featured at world's premier cancer immunotherapy meeting

Researchers honored at SITC 2018 for work on immune-based treatments for leukemia, ovarian cancer, skin cancer

Nov. 14, 2018 | By Susan Keown / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Kristin Anderson (right), received the SITC Presidential Award from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer in Washington, D.C.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Kristin Anderson

This past weekend, researchers from around the world gathered at the 33rd annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, or SITC, in Washington, D.C. On the minds of everyone there was one main question: How can we effectively and safely direct the killing powers of the immune system to cure cancers?

That’s a question scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have been working to answer for years. At the meeting, three of them were honored for their work on cancer immunotherapies.

Greenberg delivers Smalley Lecture

Dr. Phil Greenberg, who heads the Hutch’s program in immunology, was awarded SITC’s highest honor, the Richard V. Smalley, M.D., Memorial Award and Lectureship — the first Fred Hutch scientist to receive the prize. Decades ago, Greenberg’s team at Fred Hutch made foundational discoveries about how immune cells called T cells could target cancer and other diseases. He continues to pioneer innovative T-cell therapies against leukemia and solid tumors like pancreatic and ovarian cancers, and he is recognized worldwide for his leadership in the field.

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Move more and sit less for cancer prevention and survival: new HHS guidelines

Recommendations include being active for at least 150 minutes, or two hours and 30 minutes, per week

Nov. 13, 2018 | By Dr. Anne McTiernan

Toshiko Aramaki, a certified cancer exercise trainer, conducts an exercise class for cancer survivors at the 12th annual Moving Beyond Cancer to Wellness conference at Fred Hutch in June 2018.

Toshiko Aramaki, a certified cancer exercise trainer, conducts an exercise class for cancer survivors at the 12th annual Moving Beyond Cancer to Wellness conference at Fred Hutch in June 2018.

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

This article initially ran Nov. 12 as a blog post on the American Institute for Cancer Research website. It has been edited slightly and is being republished with permission from AICR.

On Nov. 12, the U.S. government did something good for our health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, gave us clear guidelines for the amount and types of physical activity to reduce the risk for common diseases, and to improve health for people with chronic diseases.

The guidelines state that being physically active is one of the most important things that people can do to improve their health. Health benefits start immediately after exercising, and even short periods of physical activity are beneficial. The government goes on to state that almost everyone can benefit from physical activity: women and men of all races and ethnicities, people of all ages, pregnant and postpartum women, and individuals with disabilities or chronic diseases.

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