Tip Sheet: Forecasting the flu; advances in studying Kasposi sarcoma; understanding how skin stops tumor growth; progress in diagnosing pediatric brain tumors; and a new look at myeloma treatment

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Tip Sheet: Forecasting the flu; advances in studying Kasposi sarcoma; understanding how skin stops tumor growth; progress in diagnosing pediatric brain tumors; and a new look at myeloma treatment

SEATTLE – Nov. 7, 2018 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts.

Forecasting the Flu

Forecasting the shape of flu viruses to come 
The CDC estimates that the flu killed 80,000 Americans last year. In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Fred Hutch researchers have taken the first steps toward better forecasting the influenza virus which is critical to the development of more dependable and effective flu vaccines. The team conducted a deep analysis of the constant evolutionary changes in the flu virus by recreating its mutations in the lab and then using computer models to validate those findings.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org, 206.667.7365

HIV Associated Cancer

Lab advance brings a closer look at cancer in Africa
Kaposi sarcoma (KS), a cancer that often involves the skin, lymph nodes, and other organs, continues to ravage HIV-positive patients in sub Saharan Africa, where KS is a leading cause of cancer death. In order to analyze these cancer cells in Africa with the same depth and detail as cancers in the United States, Fred Hutch researchers brought live KS cells 8,800 miles to Seattle for advanced analysis aimed at improving treatments and outcomes.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org, 206.667.7365

Human Biology and Skin Cancer

Researchers identify new way skin stops tumor growth 
In a recent study published in Nature Cell Biology, Fred Hutch researchers identified a third way that skin cells can stop tumor growth and counteract potentially cancer-causing DNA changes. Currently, the two ways cells counteract potentially cancer-causing DNA changes are to either sacrifice themselves or turn off their ability divide. Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Slobodan Beronja found a third way these cells aren’t passive victims of DNA damage: the cells get specialized. Beronja and his team show that skin stem cells in mice respond to what ought to have been a cancer-causing mutation by opting to differentiate or specialize instead of renewing themselves.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

Brain Cancer and Personalized Medicine

Researchers 'shocked' to see how often experts misinterpret certain brain tumors in kids
Fred Hutch researchers recently published a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that shows that 71 percent of tumors are misidentified in children with rare brain cancer due to limits in standard diagnostic methods, causing some children with these rare tumors to get the wrong diagnoses, and in some cases, the wrong treatment. Researchers were able to reveal the errors with the help of new tests than can look at tumor cells’ molecular profiles.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

Multiple Myeloma and Immunotherapy

Standard myeloma treatment reveals itself as an immunotherapy
In a pair of recent studies published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and in the journal Blood, Fred Hutch researchers suggest that standard treatment for myeloma reveals itself as an immunotherapy. Their studies in mice have shown how transplanting patients’ own healthy blood stem cells can curb cancer, opening the door to new strategies that will improve treatment outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma. The therapy, called autologous transplant, typically involves giving a patient a high dose of chemotherapy, (and sometimes radiation) then giving back the patient’s own pre-collected blood-forming stem cells.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org, 206.667.6651

October Recognitions

Researchers at Fred Hutch are often recognized for their work. We are proud to celebrate their achievements and grateful to the awarding organizations.

Dr. Joachim Deeg named Miklos Kohary and Natalia Zimonyi Kohary Endowed Chair for Cancer Research

Dr. Stephanie Lee honored as new Giuliani/Press Endowed Chair recipient

Dr. Mohamed Sorror received a new five-year $3.5 million grant from the NCI

Dr. Beverly Torok-Storb wins mentorship award

Fred Hutch cancer geneticists receive $2.4 million grant for predicting individuals’ cancer risk

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At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.