News Releases

International integrative medicine conference will feature two key speakers from the Hutch

  • Dr. Lee Hartwell on the role of genetics in integrative medi
  • Dr. John Potter on nutrition and cancer prevention

A Seattle international conference billed as a groundbreaking meeting to explore the integration of Western and Eastern medicines will feature two key speakers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Drs. Lee Hartwell, Center president and director, and John Potter, head of the Center's Cancer Prevention Research Program, will join 25 other key speakers at the upcoming International Conference on Integrative Medicine, or ICIM. The conference will take place today through Sunday at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.

Hartwell, an internationally renowned geneticist who last year received a Lasker Award ("America's Nobel") for his pioneering work in understanding cell-cycle regulation, will speak about "The Role of Genetics in Integrative Medicine" from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, April 30.

"Western medicine's point of view," he says, "is 'one size fits all.' It's based on the clinical trial, and a treatment becomes part of the Western medical canon if a statistically valid proportion of people benefit from it. That approach can and should be applied to any treatment for which there is significant reason to think there might be benefit, including meditation, herbs and acupuncture.

"The important distinction is objective vs. subjective results. Western medicine's method necessarily discards anything that is anecdotal. However, we are all genetically different, and we are each individually our most reliable doctors. So, I see non-Western medicine as the subjective element in health care."

Potter, a world expert in researching the role of diet and nutrition in cancer prevention, will deliver a talk entitled "Your Mother Was Right: Eat Your Vegetables" from 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 2.

Organizers expect 3,000 health professionals to attend the conference and its concurrent Health Expo, which will feature dozens of breakout sessions, more than 120 speakers and 30 exhibits, including a booth from the Hutch.

This interactive health fair will feature a seminar by Joelle Machia, a Hutch clinical research nurse specialist who will explain proper breast self-exam techniques and offer potentially lifesaving information about breast-cancer prevention. Her talk, entitled "Breast Self-exam: Learn it. Do it. Save Your Life," is at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 2.

Other key speakers include Drs. Joseph Pizzorno, co-founder of Bastyr University; Kenneth Pelletier, director of the Stanford Corporate Health Program; Mehmet Oz, director of the Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Medical Center; James Gordon, founder of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine; and Jennifer Jacobs, president-elect of the American Institute of Homeopathy.

For more information about the conference, call (206) 789-5668 or visit <>.




Lee Hartwell, Ph.D.

  • President and director, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle
  • Professor of genetics, University of Washington, Seattle
  • American Cancer Society Research Professor
  • Recipient of the 1998 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Prize


By studying yeast -- essential for brewing beer and baking bread -- Dr. Lee Hartwell has seen the cell cycle up close and has identified genes crucial to controlling the intricate program of instructions by which a cell grows, rests, and divides to replicate itself. Among Hartwell's discoveries in budding yeast is a gene called CDC28, which cells need to progress through their various life stages.

As budding yeast passes through stages of development, the bud protruding from the organism changes size, giving scientists a remarkable, visible way to follow the outward signs of the cell cycle.

At the University of Washington Department of Genetics, Hartwell discovered that many of the genes essential to the development of yeast are "checkpoint" genes that ensure each developmental step occurs in the proper order. In other words, a cell cannot move to Step B until it completes Step A, and so on. Checkpoints serve as rest stops along the way. In the normal cell cycle of any organism, errors are likely, as information encoded in DNA is passed along. Checkpoints enable the cell to monitor the accuracy of its DNA transmission and to make repairs when necessary before moving along. Like the intricate steps in a complex dance, the healthy development of the cell, which ends with cell division and the creation of daughter cells, depends on good choreography.

For a cell, errors that go undetected and, therefore, unrepaired, are not to be desired. But for a geneticist like Hartwell, errors that result in mutant cells furnish a gold mine of information. Learning when and why the cell cycle goes awry (often leading to the uncontrolled growth characteristic of cancer) anchors his work.

Hartwell in 1997 became president and director of the Hutchinson Center, where his yeast-related research helps develop drugs for use against cancer and other diseases.


John Potter, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Head, Cancer Prevention Research Program, Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Professor of epidemiology, University of Washington

Dr. John Potter chaired the Expert Panel of the Diet and Cancer Project, a four-year collaboration of the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research. This project brought together a panel of 15 of the world's leading researchers in diet and cancer to produce a comprehensive new report on diet and cancer prevention.

The result, "Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective," reviewed more than 4,500 research studies and involved more than 120 contributors and peer reviewers. Reviewers included participants from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Agency on Research in Cancer and the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

The resultant 660-page book, "Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective," examined the relationship between dietary factors and 18 specific cancers, providing new dietary guidelines for cancer prevention and offering public- policy recommendations to help make cancer prevention an achievable goal. Importantly, the report examined diet and cancer prevention from an international perspective.

Potter has written more than 200 papers. He holds a primary interest in the epidemiology, biology and prevention of colorectal cancer. His other research interests include the role of diet, particularly vegetables and fruit, in the prevention of cancer; and

the development of screening markers for the early detection of cancer.

He received the first Maurice and Charmaine Kaplan Distinguished Lectureship Award from the University of California, San Diego Cancer Center, for contributions in the field of nutrition and cancer prevention. He also received the Dr. C. Gopalan Oration Gold Medal for outstanding contributions in the field of nutrition science.


Joelle Machia, R.N., B.S.N.

  • Program coordinator, Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (tamoxifen study), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Joelle Machia is a clinical research nurse specialist with nursing experience in oncology, bone-marrow transplant, hospice and pediatrics. She is an active public speaker who focuses on educating about breast cancer and breast self-exam.

Kristen Woodward
(206) 667-5095

April 30, 1999


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