As a hub of HIV prevention, treatment and cure research, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center will be well represented at the eighth International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada, next week, and not just by scientists. Members of the community advisory board for defeatHIV, a Hutch-based public-private consortium of researchers investigating using genetically modified stem cells to cure HIV, will be among the only non-scientists presenting a poster. The topic, fittingly enough, is how HIV researchers can best engage members of at-risk communities and the public at large.
About 6,000 participants from more than 125 countries are expected to attend the IAS2015 conference, which begins Saturday with a symposium on HIV cure and runs through Wednesday.
Dr. Larry Corey, Fred Hutch president and director emeritus and an internationally known virologist who has been involved in HIV/AIDS research since the pandemic’s beginning, will take part in an opening panel on Sunday, which will provide an overview of vaccines and other preventive efforts in the pipeline. The panel will be moderated by IAS president-elect Dr. Linda-Gail Bekker, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, and a key investigator in the Fred Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network, or HVTN.
HIV expert Dr. Glenda Gray, president of the South African Medical Research Council and head of the HVTN’s South Africa programs, will moderate a panel on Monday and deliver the closing plenary on Wednesday with an update on HIV vaccine trials underway in South Africa.
Steven Wakefield, HVTN director of external relations, will facilitate and speak on a panel Monday on working with vulnerable populations in clinical trials. Also on Monday, virologist Dr. Keith Jerome, defeatHIV co-director, will participate in a panel on strategies for achieving long-term, drug-free HIV remission. On Tuesday, defeatHIV’s Dr. Chris Peterson will present an abstract on gene editing that won him the Young Investigator Award Special HIV Cure Prize.
Fred Hutch HIV researcher Dr. Ann Duerr served on the IAS conference organizing committee. And as another nod to the importance of engaging the public in HIV research, she will take part Saturday in a day-long community forum.
Dr. Lee Cranmer, a physician-researcher and medical oncologist currently based at the University of Arizona, has been selected to lead the Bob and Eileen Gilman Family Sarcoma Program, a joint program of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington. His appointment will begin this fall.
The sarcoma program provides a multidisciplinary approach to managing bone- and soft-tissue sarcomas via novel, molecularly targeted therapies. Cranmer will focus on ways to foster and expand sarcoma- research collaboration among investigators at Fred Hutch and UW, including the development of local clinical trials, involvement in national clinical trials, teaching and mentoring hematology-oncology fellows, and community-outreach activities.
Cranmer will hold joint faculty appointments within the Fred Hutch Clinical Research Division and the UW Division of Oncology, and he will treat bone- and soft-tissue sarcoma patients at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutch’s cancer-treatment arm.
“We are very excited to have Lee Cranmer lead our Sarcoma Research Program and believe his expertise, background, and commitment to science and multidisciplinary medicine will enhance clinical-research efforts and further patient care at the SCCA,” said Dr. Oliver Press, acting senior vice president and acting director of the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch.
The Gilman family’s long-standing philanthropic support of Fred Hutch will help underwrite Cranmer’s hiring and will support sarcoma research by Cranmer and his colleagues.
Cranmer currently serves as director of the Centralized Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, where he conducts clinical research in sarcoma and melanoma.