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Dr. Holly Harris receives 2 grants to research endometriosis

Hutch public health researcher receives nearly $1.5 million to study endometriosis pain as well as the condition's connection to ovarian cancer

March 21, 2019 | By Diane Mapes / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Holly Harris

Dr. Holly Harris

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center epidemiologist Dr. Holly Harris was just awarded two grants to study endometriosis, an often painful disorder in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside the uterus. The condition impacts about 10 percent of U.S. women of childbearing age.

The first grant, issued by the National Institute of Nursing Research, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, spans four years and totals $1.4 million. It will allow Harris to conduct a 12-week dietary intervention among women with endometriosis in hopes of decreasing their pain and improving their quality of life.

“Over 80 percent of women with endometriosis report chronic pelvic pain, and symptoms are often not sufficiently abated with hormonal suppression or surgery,” Harris said. “The identification of other evidenced-based, modifiable factors that improve pain and quality of life are critical to improving the lives of women with endometriosis.”

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Seattle mayor and recent melanoma survivor Jenny Durkan visits Fred Hutch

Mayor shares personal story as Hutch scientists outline the future of cancer therapy

March 13, 2019 | By Jake Siegel / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Jen Adair and Mayor Jenny Durkan

Fred Hutch researcher Dr. Jen Adair, in gray, speaks with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan about a machine she developed that enables "gene therapy in a box." The mayor toured Adair's lab during a visit to the Hutch Wednesday.

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Hope and fear.

Shortly after she was diagnosed with melanoma in January, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan found herself in a Seattle Cancer Care Alliance waiting room. She anxiously glanced around. Her fellow patients spanned all ages and spoke multiple languages, but they all had the same look in their eyes: a mixture of hope and fear.

On Wednesday, March 13, Durkan visited Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to learn about advancements that could help tip the scales toward hope.

“It’s so important to show the research underway into treatments and prevention, because they really do raise hope,” said Durkan, who lost her mother and oldest brother to cancer. “For me, one of the untold stories is the role Fred Hutch and other institutions in Seattle play in designing the treatments of the future. The level of discovery here is astonishing.”

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Dr. Heather Wright receives NIH training fellowship to study pancreatic cancer metastasis

She will explore the role of a molecule called hyaluronan in promoting cancer spread

March 13, 2019 | By Kristen Woodward / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Heather Wright

Dr. Heather Wright

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Heather J. Wright, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Hingorani Lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has received a prestigious three-year training fellowship from the National Institutes of Health to study the mechanisms of pancreatic cancer spread, or metastasis, to distant organs.

The NIH established the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship, otherwise known as an F32 award, to help shepherd postdocs into independent research careers. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, postdocs who receive this award are significantly more likely than non-awardees to go on to receive an R01, or Research Project Grant, the original and historically oldest grant mechanism offered by the NIH to help early-career scientists establish tenure-track research careers.

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