News Releases

Tip Sheet: Immunotherapy for deadly skin cancer; more money but no better outcome; yoga and music for breast cancer therapy; molecular discoveries; caregivers

SEATTLE – July 9, 2018 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts.

Immunotherapy, Cancer Research and Cancer Care Delivery

Immunotherapy has long-term benefit for patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma
Dr. Paul Nghiem and colleagues presented data showing that immunotherapy drugs help a significant subset of patients with advanced Merkel cell carcinoma survive much longer than would otherwise be possible. Fred Hutch researchers also published a new guide to help clinicians navigate the recent revolution in care for this rare and extremely deadly skin cancer.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Cancer Care Costs

At half the cost, Canadian colorectal cancer survival similar to that in US
In a rare comparison of cancer care in neighboring regions of the U.S. and Canada, researchers with the Hutch’s health economics group and colleagues from Vancouver, British Columbia, found that Americans were paying twice as much for similar colorectal cancer treatments, with no advantage in survival rates.
Media contact: Tom Kim,, 206.667.6240

Cancer Care

Cancer treatment providers welcome integrative oncology therapies for breast cancer patients
Integrative therapies like acupuncture, meditation, massage and yoga were recently endorsed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology as evidence-based ways to manage symptoms and side effects of conventional breast cancer treatment. Fred Hutch’s Dr. Gary Lyman co-chaired the ASCO panel that reviewed and approved guidelines of the Society for Integrative Oncology.
Media contact: Sandy Van,, 808.526.1708

Cancer Genetics

Hutch researchers identify a protein that helps cancer both spread and grow
Fred Hutch scientists identified a single molecule that performs two different roles that are key to cancer metastasis. At the cell membrane, endophilin A3 aids tumor growth. Inside the cell, it directs the formation of projections that cells use to move.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Study in a subtype of brain tumor shows cancer may spark from a single gene fusion
While other kinds of cancer accumulate many mutations over time, a subtype of ependymomas, a type of brain tumor, undergo gene fusion caused by a chromosomal event called chromothripsis, according to a study led by the Hutch’s Dr. Eric Holland. He said the paper proves that this gene fusion – a catastrophic rearrangement in one section of the DNA – is very likely the first event and the actual cause of the disease.
Media contact: Tom Kim,, 206.667.6240

Caregiver Quality of Life

Some caregivers of bone marrow transplant survivors confront quality of life issues
The largest-ever study of its kind, recently published by Fred Hutch researchers, found that 1 in 5 people who care for a bone marrow transplant survivor have poor physical and mental quality of life that can last years. The Hutch’s Dr. Stephanie Lee, senior researcher on the study, said a large number of caregivers are doing well, but about 20 percent are doing much worse than the general population.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651


Red meat consumption may increase risk for endometriosis
Premenopausal women who consume higher amounts of red meat may be at higher risk of developing endometriosis, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Holly Harris, a study author, says red meat consumption may be an important modifiable risk factor, particularly among women with endometriosis who had not reported infertility and thus were more like to present with pain symptoms.
Media contact: Tom Kim,, 206.667.6240

July Recognitions

Researchers at Fred Hutch are often recognized for their work. We are proud to celebrate their achievements and grateful to the awarding organizations.

·         Emily Hatch, 2018 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar

·         Jen Adair, Boys & Girls Clubs of King County 2018 Board President of the Year Award

·         Cassandra Simonich, 2018 Graduate School Medal from the University of Washington

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