Investing in scientific innovation: You make progress against cancer possible

2011 Annual Report

Investing in scientific innovation: You make progress against cancer possible

Dr. Larry Corey

Dr. Larry Corey

MESSAGE FROM DR. LARRY COREY,
PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR

As I complete my first year as director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, I am pleased to give you positive news in our battle against cancer. The National Institutes of Health reported that cancer deaths and new diagnoses are declining, proof we are making significant progress against these devastating diseases.

The Hutchinson Center has directly contributed to this progress with scientific innovations that have improved methods for detecting, treating and preventing cancer. Here are a few examples you will read about in this annual report:

  • The Hutchinson Center’s research teams have had a clear impact on breast cancer prevention. Our scientists who lead the Women’s Health Initiative—the largest study of women’s health ever undertaken—continue to make breakthroughs that reduce cancer risk and improve women’s health. This year, teams led by Dr. Andrea LaCroix made two prevention discoveries that will further reduce breast cancer incidence.
  • Building upon our pioneering development of bone marrow transplantation, our scientist-physicians have relentlessly refined the procedure to save even more lives. This year, Dr. George McDonald’s analysis of these efforts showed they have led to unparalleled improvements in blood cancer survival rates at our transplant clinic.
  • A discovery by our prostate cancer researchers this year could pave the way for a simple blood test to identify patients who should receive aggressive treatment. The team, led by Dr. Janet Stanford, identified genetic markers linked to aggressive, lethal prostate cancer. Such a screening test could reduce overtreatment of indolent prostate tumors.
  • Dr. Nina Salama, who focuses her work on the bacterium that causes stomach cancer and gastric ulcers, this year found a chink in its armor that she hopes to exploit to eliminate these diseases. Nina discovered that the corkscrew shape of Helicobacter pylori is essential to its survival in the stomach. Creating a targeted therapy to disable the proteins that determine the bug’s shape would keep it from colonizing the stomach and causing disease.
  • We are also developing “Star Wars”-like technologies to correct and disable genes so we can use this genetic surgery in combination with blood stem cell transplants to cure diseases. Drs. Hans-Peter Kiem and Keith Jerome broke new ground this year by exploring its potential to cure HIV by specifically knocking out one of the receptors the HIV virus needs to infect the immune system’s helper T-cells.

These are just a few examples of our recent advances, which could not have been made without your generous contributions. Many additional innovations are described in this annual report. We are extremely grateful for your ongoing investment in scientific innovation that moves our lifesaving research forward. Thank you.