News Releases

Tip Sheet: A decrease in melanoma rates in young adults; a global effort to find a true cure for HIV/AIDS; and a push to educate the public about the negative impacts of vaping

SEATTLE – Dec. 06, 2019 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings with links for additional background and media contacts.


Public health throws shade on tanning, and it works
New findings published recently in JAMA Dermatology show a “sustained, statistically and clinically significant downtrend” in melanoma rates in people under 30. Led by a team of researchers at Fred Hutch and UW, the study gleaned data from two large repositories of cancer patient data to determine the annual rates of melanoma diagnoses in four age groups: children (age 0 to 9), adolescents (age 10 to 19), young adults (age 20 to 29) and adults (over 30). While researchers can’t draw conclusions as to what caused the decreased melanoma rates, researchers state that an increase in sun-protective behaviors such as sunscreen has helped decrease melanoma observed in young individuals.
Media contact
: Jill Christensen,, 206.667.6242

Black men with early-stage prostate cancer can do active surveillance
Black men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer can practice active surveillance just like their white counterparts instead of heading straight into surgery or radiation, a new study has determined. The finding, recently published in the Journal of Urology, comes from a large research collaboration known as the Canary Prostate Active Surveillance Study, or Canary PASS, led by Fred Hutch researchers.
Media contact: Tom Kim, 206.667.6240

HIV/AIDS Research

World AIDS Day: Stepping up the search for a cure
This year, World AIDS Day took place on December 1st. Nearly 38 million men, women, and children are living with HIV/AIDS, a disease that still has no cure. Fred Hutch researchers are playing a leading role in an expanding global effort to find a true cure, where the virus is stopped without the constant need for antiviral drugs. That cure research — still a niche field in the universe of AIDS studies — relies on the notion that HIV can eventually be scrubbed out of the bodies of infected people by giving their blood cells protective genes, and that this gene therapy can one day be delivered to millions of people through just a shot in the arm. On Oct. 23, these researchers received a significant vote of confidence when the National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a plan to each provide $100 million in grants that will support gene-based research on cures for HIV as well as sickle cell disease, both of which are especially prevalent in resource-poor regions of Africa.
Media contact:
Claire Hudson,, 206.667.7665

Infectious Diseases  

Hutch influenza experts assay the latest science
Seattle flu physicians and scientists recently gathered at Fred Hutch to discuss the latest research and trends regarding the flu. All researchers agreed that flu shots are an imperfect way to prevent influenza, but vaccinations every fall are your best bet for protecting yourself and those around you from a dangerous and often unpredictable bug — until researchers come up with a better alternative. Their assessment of flu research touched on current trends in tracking the globe-girdling virus, and they offered up-to-date advice on what people can do to prevent or treat it.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,, 206.667.7665

'Keeping these out of the hands of adolescents is critical'
Dr. McGarry Houghton, a lung cancer immunologist at Fred Hutch testified about the public health impacts of vaping during Washington state’s senate’s Health & Long-Term Care Committee last month. Recently, Washington state banned vaping products that contain vitamin E acetate, which federal health offices have named as the prime suspect behind a rash of illnesses nationwide. Houghton, who leads Fred Hutch’s Specialized Program of Research Excellence in Lung Cancer, highlighted two recent studies that suggest that vaping, like smoking and exposure to particulates, could cause harm over time. “The take-home message is that people don’t smoke cigarettes and get cancer in a year. There is a 20-, 30-, 40-year lag for all these diseases,” he said. “One does not know what vaping for 30 years is going to do, but these surrogate studies suggest it’s likely we’re going to see the same types of problems. And that’s why keeping these out of the hands of adolescents is really critical.”
Media contact:
Molly McElroy,, 206.667.6651

November 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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