News Releases

Tip Sheet: HIV risk for women, how the immune system’s key organ regenerates, new public-private grants for cancer research, and more

SEATTLE — Jan. 31, 2018 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts.

Infectious Disease

Middle East respiratory syndrome remains primarily a camel virus — for now
A new analysis of genetic history confirms the long-held suspicion that Middle East respiratory syndrome virus, or MERS, which alarmed global health leaders in 2012 when it spilled over from camels to cause an often-fatal illness in people, does not spread easily between humans. At least not yet.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,, 206.667.7365

Microbiome research refines HIV risk for women
Drawing from data collected for years by AIDS researchers in six African nations, scientists have pinpointed seven bacterial species whose presence in high concentrations may significantly increase the risk of HIV infection in women.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,, 206.667.7365

Fred Hutch and Peru’s search for a better way to prevent HIV and AIDS
A leader in Peru’s fight against HIV and AIDS has a long working relationship with Fred Hutch researchers. Dr. Jorge Sanchez earned a master’s degree at the University of Washington, and his clinical research site in Lima, part of the global, Fred Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network, participates in a three-continent study testing HIV-blocking super antibodies.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,, 206.667.7365


How the immune system’s key organ regenerates itself
Dr. Jarrod Dudakov and colleagues published a paper in Science Immunology about a molecule they identified that plays a key role in the ability of the thymus – the source of T cells – to repair itself after injury. BMP4 is only the second known driver of thymic regeneration. The research group identified the first one in 2012.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Stem cell transplant for severe auto-immune disorder improves survival, quality of life
New clinical trial findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine show that a therapeutic regimen involving transplantation of a person’s own blood-forming stem cells can improve survival and quality of life for people with severe scleroderma, a life-threatening autoimmune disease.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651


Fred Hutch/SCCA transplant patient survival above the expected rate in US
For the fifth year in a row, the Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has been recognized by the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research as exceeding expectations for one-year survival rates. These survival rates specifically pertain to patients who have received transplants of blood-forming stem cells from healthy donors, a procedure pioneered at Fred Hutch.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Fred Hutch receives three grant awards from Washington’s Cancer Research Endowment Fund

Fred Hutch has received three grants of $500,000 each from the Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment. Formerly known as the Cancer Research Endowment (CARE) Fund, this public-private partnership supports cancer research in Washington. The grants will support the work of three researchers. Dr. Heather Greenlee’s research focuses on cancer survivorship, lifestyle interventions, and racial and ethnic minority populations. Dr. Mark Headley seeks to understand the biology of cancer metastasis. Dr. Lev Silberstein studies factors that regulate the behavior of normal and malignant stem cells in the bone marrow. They are part of the CARE Fund’s inaugural Distinguished Researchers program.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,, 206.667.7365

Big Data and Medical Research to Watch

Science to watch in 2018, from immunotherapy to gene therapy, big data to new tech
Fred Hutch researchers predict where big research advances are likely to be seen this year: T-cell therapies and other immunotherapies, with growing attention on solid tumors; new drugs based on genomics; new technologies that propel biomedical discoveries; the mining, analysis and sharing of vast amounts of data; gene editing and gene therapy to correct genetic disorders; the battlegrounds of infectious diseases and bacterial resistance; technology that supports a personalized approach to better health, disease prevention and reduced cancer risk.
Media contact: Sandy Van,, 808.526.1708



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