News Releases

Tip Sheet: Cancer-causing bacteria; a cancer ‘escape hatch’; how sex cells sort chromosomes; cord blood’s role in leukemia treatment; ovarian and prostate cancer research

SEATTLE – Oct. 10, 2018 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research, with links for additional background and media contacts.  

Cancer Genomics, Diagnostics and Immunotherapy

Squelching ovarian cancer: the not-so-silent killer
Ovarian cancer, which has few treatments and often is diagnosed at a late stage, kills nearly 15,000 women a year, but Fred Hutch researchers led by Dr. Robyn Andersen, are attacking these numbers on three fronts: early detection and screening; differentiating the patients based on standard chemotherapy responses; and developing new treatments. Results: a new symptom-screening tool, new biomarkers, new proteogenomic tools, and a new immunotherapy clinical trial soon to get underway.
Media contact:, 206.667.2210

Cancer Genetics and Cancer Care Delivery

Parsing the deadliness of prostate cancer
Dr. Janet Stanford, a Fred Hutch epidemiologist, led a research team in identifying and validating tumor tissue biomarkers that may help doctors determine whether a prostate cancer is likely to be aggressive or indolent. They recently published a paper in Prostate suggesting their panel of biomarkers could eventually prove better than the current standard – the Gleason score – at stratifying patients with potentially lethal tumors.
Media contact:, 206.667.2210

Cancer Genetics and Pathogen-Associated Cancers

H. pylori test hints at risk factor for stomach cancer
A pilot study led by Fred Hutch microbiologist Dr. Nina Salama found that a specific strain of Helicobacter pylori is associated with increased risk for the development of stomach cancer. The work, conducted with researchers in China and published in Plos One, shows that patients with stomach cancer are much more likely to be infected with a strain of H. pylori that possesses a specific variant of the cagA gene.
Media contact:, 206.667.2210

Cancer Immunotherapy

Revealing a new way that cancer can evade immunotherapy – and, maybe, how to stop it
Drs. Kelly Paulson and Aude Chapuis published findings in Nature Communications on an “escape hatch” that allowed certain cancers to return after initially responding to immunotherapy. The cancers “hid” the specific molecules that the cancer-killing T cells used as targets.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Molecular and Reproductive Biology

How chromosomes find a happy medium
Fred Hutch molecular biologist Dr. Gerry Smith and his research team have worked out the molecular underpinnings of how chromosomes make the right number of “crossovers” – important links that make it possible for developing sex cells (eggs and sperm in humans) to sort those chromosomes properly. Too few or too many crossovers can cause miscarriages or developmental disorders. The team created a model in yeast that explains how chromosomes get the number just right. The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

Looking Ahead: World Cord Blood Day Nov. 15
World Cord Blood Day celebrates the use of blood from the placenta and umbilical cords of newborns to treat life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering research is creating more transplant options for people with high-risk leukemia and other conditions. Drs. Colleen Delaney and Filippo Milano and other authors of this New England Journal of Medicine article are available for comment.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

September 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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