News Releases

Tip Sheet: Understanding how the flu virus works; addressing global health challenges in sub-Saharan Africa; and using radioimmunotherapy to destroy multiple myeloma cells

SEATTLE – Sept. 4, 2019 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings, with links for additional background and media contacts.

Breaking News

New study confirms the long-term benefits of a low-fat diet
A team led by Fred Hutch researchers has identified several women’s health benefits from a low-fat diet. The findings, published in the September issue of the Journal of Nutrition, found a low-fat diet commensurate with an increase in fruit, vegetable, and grain servings reduced death following breast cancer, slowed diabetes progression, and prevented coronary heart disease. Dr. Ross Prentice, member of the Cancer Prevention and Biostatistics programs at Fred Hutch and his colleagues in the Women’s Health Initiative originally launched the Dietary Modification Trial  in 1993. The study involved nearly 49,000 postmenopausal women across the U.S. to test whether a low-fat dietary pattern would reduce the risk of breast and colorectal cancers and coronary heart disease.
Media contact:
Tom Kim,, 206.667.6240

Vaccines and Infectious Disease

Why does flu make some people sick, but not others? 
In a new study, scientists at Fred Hutch show that a single mutation in a flu virus can sometimes give it the power to evade 90% of one person’s antibody immunity, but not another’s. Published earlier this month in the open-access journal eLife, the findings could help explain why individuals vary so much in their susceptibility to infectious diseases like influenza. “Our results raise the interesting idea that there might be person-to-person variation in how viral mutations affect our immune system’s ability to combat flu, which means that the same viral mutation might have different effects for different people,” said Dr. Jesse Bloom, the computational biologist at Fred Hutch who led the study.
Media contact:, 206.667.2210

HIV and Cancer

In Uganda: Treating twin threats of HIV and cancer
Last month, Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Gary Gilliland visited the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala to discuss the global health challenges that exist in screening and treating HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. The UCI-Fred Hutch Collaboration expands local capacity in scientific research, training, and patient care, serving as a great model for addressing global health challenges. Because of the challenges in treating cancer with chemotherapy and radiation therapy in a resource-limited environment, it is critically important that the cancer burden on patients in this region be reduced. In order to address these challenges, Fred Hutch is working towards strengthening all facets of cancer and HIV care — including screening, early diagnosis, and all stages of treatment.
Media contact:, 206.667.2210

Scientists gather in Seattle to share strategies for an HIV cure
More than 150 of the world’s leading experts in the use of gene therapy to cure HIV gathered in Seattle earlier this month to vet their research and advance a bold idea: to make these potentially curative therapies low-cost and accessible to patients everywhere. Hosted by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and defeatHIV, the 5th Conference on Cell & Gene Therapy for HIV Cure drew an international corps of researchers who are addressing this challenge: Antiviral drugs can stop HIV infection, but because the virus hides quietly inside a patient’s immune cells it will roar back if treatment stops. The goal is to rid the body of these reservoirs of latent viruses, once and for all. The prospect that technologies might eventually do this economically led the Gates Foundation to support part of this year’s conference.
Media contact:, 206.667.2210

Precision Medicine

Radioactive particles destroy multiple myeloma in preclinical model
A new study by Fred Hutch researchers shows that radioimmunotherapy can zap multiple myeloma cells in mice with little to no damage to surrounding healthy tissues. The research involved radioactive particles released by alpha emitters, which can deliver a massive amount of energy to a tiny target. Led by Dr. Damian Green, the research team paired these alpha emitters with a CD38 antibody, which hunts down the CD38 receptor commonly found on myeloma cells. The research team believes that this approach may help eliminate multiple myeloma cells that evade other forms of treatment. In a series of experiments this radioimmunotherapy produced sustained remission and long-term survival for 50-80% of mice with human multiple myeloma tumors. The researchers now plan to launch a clinical trial to test whether this approach can improve outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma.  
Media contact: Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651


‘Community coming together’: Obliteride raises more than $2.5M for cancer research
Earlier this month, nearly 2,500 people came together to bike, run or walk to raise money to fuel cancer research at Fred Hutch’s annual fundraiser Obliteride. This year, the event raised more than $2.5 million. Over its seven-year history, Obliteride has raised more than $17 million, 100% of which funds research at the Hutch.
Media contact: Tom Kim,, 206.667.6240

August Recognitions

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

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At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first National Cancer Institute-funded cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.


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