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Could an infant’s blood sample help model a better HIV vaccine?

Tracing the evolution of a baby’s special HIV-blocking protein

May 16, 2019 | By Sabrina Richards / Fred Hutch News Service

graphic art showing the silhouette of a baby superimposed with the outline of an HIV virus particle next to a microscope from which a question mark drips out

Blood samples collected during a groundbreaking HIV-transmission study in Kenya in the early 1990s are providing new answers to then-undreamed-of questions about the virus.

Illustration by Kim Carney / Fred Hutch News Service

Forward progress sometimes requires a backward glance. A twenty-five-year-old blood sample from an infant infected with HIV could hold clues to modeling a better HIV vaccine, according to work published in Nature Communications by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The sample, which held a special HIV-blocking protein that can develop after HIV infection, was taken during a groundbreaking HIV transmission trial conducted in the early 1990s. At the time antiretroviral drugs were not available and whether HIV could be transmitted through breast milk was unknown. HIV-positive mothers in Nairobi, Kenya, helped researchers discover that the virus could indeed spread to infants via breastfeeding. Carefully preserved for more than two decades, the blood samples collected during this study are providing new answers to then-undreamed-of questions made possible by advances in research tools.

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Roy Choi: A different path

Premier Chefs Dinner keynote speaker discusses how food, family and community shaped his journey to activism

May 15, 2019 | By Sabrina Richards / Fred Hutch News Service

Roy Choi

Chef and social justice activist Roy Choi will headline this weekend's Premier Chefs Dinner.

Photo by Travis Jensen

“I’ve lived four or five full lives,” chef and food activist Roy Choi said.

It’s not hyperbole. Before he created a TV show, before he started a food truck revolution and before he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, Choi found success as an investment banker, beat a gambling addiction, participated in lowrider culture and acted as a preteen courier in his parents’ jewelry business.  

He’s ridden waves of success that crashed against rocks of despair. Through it all, food has been a lifeline. It’s been an expression of parental love and a touchstone through which Choi connected to new and unexpected communities before using it to build his own.

Choi headlines the Premier Chefs Dinner May 19 in support of cancer prevention studies at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The annual event, which joins local chefs and wineries, has raised over $11.3 million over 27 years. Proceeds will fuel the development of resources to help cancer patients and survivors make the best dietary choices for their health. The connection between food and health is one area of social justice that Choi explores in "Broken Bread," a TV show he produced for KCET and Tastemade.

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Fred Hutch makes its mark on historic Steam Plant

Logo and lettering added to leased building’s iconic smokestacks

May 15, 2019 | By Fred Hutch News Service staff

Photo of the Steam Plant's iconic smokestacks

Installation of the new Fred Hutch signage on the historic Seattle City Light Lake Union Steam Plant is expected to be complete within the next several weeks.

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

This week, painters began adding Fred Hutch’s logo and lettering to the iconic smokestacks on the historic Seattle City Light Lake Union Steam Plant. Last year, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center signed a 10-year lease agreement to take ownership of the Steam Plant this June, with occupancy slated for the spring of 2020. Installation of the new signage is expected to be completed within the next several weeks.

The lease of the landmark structure will enable the Hutch, which has added more than 35 faculty researchers over the past year, to expand into 100,000 square feet of laboratory and office space. Portions of the building’s interior will be renovated to create an open-concept environment designed to accelerate highly collaborative science, particularly among teams focused on immunotherapy, data science and computational biology.

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