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Fred Hutch collaborates with new Allen Institute for Immunology

Multipartner initiative aims to map the immune system in health and disease

Dec. 12, 2018 | By Sabrina Richards / Fred Hutch News Service

Allan Jones, president and CEO of the Allen Institute, speaks about the opening of the Allen Institute for Immunology at a press conference today in Seattle. Looking on is Dr. Thomas F. Bumol, the executive director of the new immunology institute.

Allan Jones, president and CEO of the Allen Institute, speaks about the opening of the Allen Institute for Immunology at a press conference today in Seattle. Looking on is Dr. Thomas F. Bumol, the executive director of the new immunology institute.

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will partner with the new Allen Institute for Immunology to chart the human immune system by harnessing big data and emerging technologies.

Fred Hutch is one of several external colllaborators of the new institute, which was launched today at a press conference at the Seattle institute. Other partners are the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason in Seattle, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the University of Pennsylvania.

The organization’s ultimate goal is to improve human health by improving disease treatments based on the immune system. To that end, the teams will work to describe the immune system of healthy individuals and what goes astray in cancer and in autoimmunity, when the immune system either fails to eliminate tumor cells or attacks healthy tissues.

The Hutch will contribute expertise in cancer immunology and cancer immunotherapies, in which the immune system is harnessed to treat tumors. Initial efforts will focus on understanding the immune systems of patients with multiple myeloma, a common but currently incurable blood cancer, to improve immunotherapy strategies for this disease.

“Patients are all different. To be able to reveal the complexity of individual variation will really move the field forward” said Dr. Stan Riddell, an oncologist and immunotherapy researcher who directs the Hutch’s Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center and is one of the leaders of the new collaboration. “I’ve always been a translational immunologist. Here, the fact that we are studying patients with the goal of using the data to improve these new cancer immunotherapies — that’s special.”

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From Everest to the snows of Kilimanjaro

Luke Timmerman's next mountain-climbing adventure to raise money for Fred Hutch cancer research

Dec. 12, 2018 | By Sabin Russell / Fred Hutch News Service

Trekkers on the way to the Kilimanjaro summit

Luke Timmerman and his team of Hutch supporters will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in July. They will follow the footsteps of this year's Climb to Fight Cancer expedition (above) that reached the 19,000-foot summit in September.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Carlson

What’s a mountaineer to do after summiting Mount Everest?

It did not take long for Luke Timmerman to come up with a fresh idea. The Seattle biotechnology writer is now organizing a climb this July to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, which at 19,000 feet is the tallest peak in Africa.

It was Timmerman’s idea to piggyback a fundraiser for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to his climb of Mount Everest last May. When he unfurled a Hutch banner at the top of the world on May 22, he had raised $340,000 through Climb to Fight Cancer.

Now his goal is to top $1 million.

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Hutch Holiday Gala raises $10.4M to fuel cancer research at intersection of innovation

Data science, technology and life sciences come together to accelerate cancer cures

Dec. 5, 2018 | By Jill Christensen / Fred Hutch News Service

Photo from 2018 gala shows attendees in formalwear sitting at well-decorated tables enjoying a dessert course. Several people are raising their bid cards. A stage with two auctioneers is in the background.

Attendees raise their bid cards at Saturday's Hutch Holiday Gala. The event has raised $136 million for Fred Hutch research over its 43-year history.

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

On Saturday night, over 800 people came together at the 2018 Hutch Holiday Gala to celebrate the intersection of data science, technology and life sciences — and its potential to transform cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

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Exploring why people with HIV have a higher risk of lung cancer

120 volunteers to enroll in Seattle-area study of cancer-related gene mutations

Dec. 4, 2018 | By Sabin Russell / Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Thomas Uldrick

Dr. Thomas Uldrick is deputy head of Global Oncology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and principal investigator of the new study of lung cancer risk in people with HIV.

Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Although antiviral drugs can spare most HIV-positive Americans from the specter of AIDS, a generation of survivors finds itself at a heightened risk of cancer.

Lung cancer is emerging as a leading cause of cancer death for people with HIV, particularly among those who smoke.

Studies show that one in five HIV-positive people who smoke will develop cancer in their lifetime. People with HIV are at higher risk of developing lung cancer, and those diagnosed with lung cancer tend to be significantly younger than HIV-negative cancer patients.

On Dec. 1, the 30th annual World AIDS Day, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle announced the start of a new study with a goal to understand why those who are HIV-positive are at higher risk of lung cancer and develop lung cancer at a younger age.

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'Exciting' but early results in trial of immunotherapy for myeloma

Cancer cells disappeared rapidly in patients with high-risk, treatment-resistant disease

Dec. 3, 2018 | by Susan Keown / Fred Hutch News Service

Photo of Dr. Damian Green in his lab

Dr. Damian Green presented the first results from his trial of genetically engineered immune cells for multiple myeloma. Green said that this type of treatment "is potentially going to dramatically alter the landscape in terms of how we manage multiple myeloma."

Photo by Kris Krüg for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

The 11 patients had already received treatment after treatment for their cancers, some as many as 20 different courses of therapy. Yet their myelomas, almost all classified by doctors as “high risk,” kept coming back. Their options faded away.

Then they joined a clinical trial to be the first people ever to receive a new experimental, immune-harnessing therapy, whose design includes features based on pioneering research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. For several of them, this was the only trial in the world of this type of therapy for which they were eligible.

The industry-funded study was designed to find a safe dose of the experimental immunotherapy, not test its effectiveness. So these first participants got just a low dose, lower than previous studies had suggested could have much of an effect on this blood cancer.

That’s why the researchers were so encouraged when the cancerous cells vanished from every patient’s bone marrow within a month.

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Study unveils 40 new mutations linked to colorectal cancer

Q&A: Dr. Riki Peters on what this large genome-wide association study means for patients and the public

Dec. 3, 2018 | By Diane Mapes / Fred Hutch News Service

Illustration representing genomic sequencing

Photo illustration by Jim Woolace / Fred Hutch News Service

A group of colorectal cancer researchers are using the word “milestone” to describe their new genomic research, published today in Nature Genetics.

“Milestone is a very good description,” said epidemiologist Dr. Ulrike “Riki” Peters, associate director of the Public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and one of the lead authors of the study. “This is very important. It helps us understand what genes are involved in the development of colorectal cancer and it will have a tremendous impact downstream. This is a big deal and we are very, very excited.”

The product of more than five years’ work by scientists at 130 institutions, the paper presents results from the most comprehensive genome-wide association study (aka GWAS) of colorectal cancer risk done to date. Among their findings: 40 new inherited mutations that put people at risk for colorectal cancer, or CRC, the second-deadliest cancer in the world. 

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