News Releases

Tip Sheet: Cancer care delivery; partnering with Microsoft; new tools for understanding (and changing) cancer’s genetics; Mt. Everest climb for cancer research fundraising

SEATTLE – June 1, 2018 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research with links for additional background and media contacts.

Cancer Care Quality and Costs

Hutch health economics group releases its first public report
The Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR) released its Community Cancer Care in Washington State: Quality and Cost Report, which offers a new “window” into the state’s cancer care delivery system, aims to help clinics share best practices, and provides a tool to help improve care quality while addressing rising costs.

Media contact: Tom Kim, tomkim@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6240

Cancer Care Delivery

Fred Hutch and Microsoft partner for better cancer care delivery
Fred Hutch and Microsoft Corp. will collaborate to develop and test technology to help cancer patients better manage their chemotherapy side effects. Closer monitoring of symptoms, quicker administration of drugs and timely counseling can often help patients avoid emergency room visits, or signal the need for more intensive intervention sooner, when it can be more effective.
Media contact: Tom Kim, tomkim@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6240

Cancer Genetics and Genomics

Machine learning provides new insights into tumor suppression
Fred Hutch researchers co-led a study using a machine learning algorithm to determine how an important but mysterious gene mutation contributes to a cancer’s growth. One of the study’s leaders said there are other important cancer genes that have very diverse effects on various aspects of cell division and differentiation and metabolism. The same approach could be useful in understanding these, too.
Media contact: Tom Kim, tomkim@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6240

Functional genomics technique pinpoints tumor vulnerabilities
Researchers used functional genomics to analyze tumor cells in incredible detail, publishing their study in Clinical Cancer Research. Their study showed that this approach has the potential to deliver on the promise of precision oncology by highlighting potential drug targets in the tumor and helping distinguish the DNA changes that affect cancer survival from those that don’t. There are three steps in functional genomics: 1) assess the DNA mutations in the tumor to identify the underlying genetic defects, 2) determine which of the thousands of proteins inside a tumor cell are central to keeping the cell alive but are not critical to survival of normal cells, and 3) pinpoint existing drugs that might be effective and identify potential targets for new drugs to be developed.

Media contact: Tom Kim, tomkim@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6240

Gene editing shows promise for sickle cell and related disorders
Although the research is not yet in humans, an advanced form of gene editing – making precise modifications to the genome – appears so promising that the researchers hope it could hold a cure for sickle cell disease and other inborn hemoglobin disorders. In a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy, the researchers said they used the advanced gene-editing tool known as CRISPR to increase blood stem cells’ production of the type of hemoglobin that is found in high levels in fetuses and infants. This may compensate for the defective or missing form of adult hemoglobin that is a hallmark of hemoglobinopathies. About 300,000 children worldwide are born each year with sickle cell disease, the most well-known hemoglobin disorder.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

Cancer Research

Cancer registry contract renewed for up to 10 years
Fred Hutch’s award-winning Cancer Surveillance System database, or CSS, which folds into the larger national cancer registry, the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program, or SEER, has received a contract renewal of up to 10 years from the National Cancer Institute. The CSS registry has been a mainstay of epidemiological research since its inception in 1974. It has been ranked the nation’s No. 1 participating cancer registry since 2006.
Media contact: Sandy Van, svan2@fredhutch.org, 808.526.1708

ASCO presentations on health economics, next-gen immunotherapy, health disparities
Fred Hutch researchers will present new findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology June 1 through 5 in Chicago.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

Cancer Research Philanthropy

Luke Timmerman summits Mount Everest for cancer research
The Seattle biotech writer who vowed to scale Mount Everest and raise money for Fred Hutch reached the summit on May 22. Luke Timmerman raised more than $338,000 for Climb to Fight Cancer at Fred Hutch, according to his fundraising page. Dr. Gary Gilliland, Fred Hutch president and director, said, “Climbing Everest is a colossal goal and I am in awe of Luke’s accomplishment. We are honored that he dedicated his expedition to inspire others to support our work.”
Media contact: Kerri Kazarba, kschneid@fredhutch.org, 206.288.3332

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