At the forefront of finding cancer at its earliest, most curable stages

2011 Annual Report

At the forefront of finding cancer at its earliest, most curable stages

The key to curing cancer is to catch it early. For many common cancers, nine of 10 patients can be saved when their cancer is detected early, before it grows out of control.

The Hutchinson Center has been at the forefront of early cancer detection for many years, and this year the National Cancer Institute tapped the Center to continue coordinating its multi-institution Early Detection Research Network.

Finding cancer when it is most treatable and curable is a remarkably daunting challenge—to find it at this stage amounts to conducting molecular detective work. But thankfully, even cancer can’t make a move without leaving a trail of telltale signs.

This is where biomarkers come in. Much like the presence of an antibody indicates an infection, the presence of certain proteins in the blood—biomarkers—may indicate cancer. Center researchers have been among the pioneers, having made a number of landmark biomarker discoveries that have greatly accelerated progress in the field.