News Releases

Tip Sheet: Next-generation CAR T-cell immunotherapies; rural-urban cancer care disparities; organizing chromosomes in egg and sperm cells

SEATTLE – Sept. 4, 2018 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts. 

Precision Oncology

Potential path to a targeted treatment for small-cell lung cancer
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive and deadly form of lung cancer. A new report published in Cancer Discovery examined one of the most frequently mutated genes associated with SCLC, called CREBBP. Fred Hutch researchers found that when the CREBBP gene is active, it acts as a tumor suppressor. They also found that Pracinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor drug (HDAC) already in clinical trials for other cancers, was particularly effective against SCLC tumors lacking functional CREBBP.
Media contact:, 206.667.2210


Decoding your immune system’s memories
A study published by Fred Hutch scientists in the journal eLife suggests the possibility of deciphering the hidden messages that our immune systems have recorded. If researchers can learn to decode this concealed knowledge, it could have enormous potential for diagnosis and treating disease. Examining genes in immune cells called T cells, the team showed that they could detect clear patterns among different individuals, and these patterns appeared to hint at previous exposures and shared genetic traits.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Cancer Immunotherapy

Want to make better T-cell therapies? First, figure out how they work.
In the first comprehensive study of its kind, led by Fred Hutch’s Dr. Stanley Riddell, scientists have mapped out how a critical design choice affects the way chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, signal immune system attack and how well cells carrying these CARs can eradicate cancer in mice. Findings, published in Science Signaling, will inform the next generations of CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Cancer Care Delivery and Disparities

Closing the rural-urban cancer survival gap

When rural and urban patients receive identical care, differences in survival rates virtually vanish. Historically, cancer patients in rural areas have died at significantly higher rates. Fred Hutch’s Dr. Joseph Unger led the SWOG study, which involved colleagues in a network of cancer researchers from 47 states.
Media contact: Sandy Van,, 808.526.1708

Reproductive Molecular Biology

Protein plays traffic cop during sex-cell formation
A study published in Molecular Cell by Fred Hutch researchers solved an 88-year-old mystery: how cells shield a specific segment of DNA so that sex cells – eggs or sperm in humans – end up with the right number of molecules. The study, led by Dr. Gerald Smith and Dr. Mridula Nambiar, sheds light on what may have gone awry when cells end up with too many or too few chromosomes, which can lead to spontaneous miscarriage or certain developmental disorders.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

August Recognitions

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

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