Fred Hutch statement on shifting most on-site lab and clinical research to remote work

Scientists will continue producing life-saving research while limiting on-site work to prevent the spread of COVID-19
research tecnhincial in the lab
Photo by Robert Hood/ Fred Hutch News Service

SEATTLE — March 18, 2020 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center remains open and committed to our mission of curing cancer and other diseases. We are collectively focusing on how to ensure our researchers and their respective labs are safe and in the best position to manage COVID-19 related disruptions—particularly those we can’t necessarily predict.

To optimize the safety and well-being of our staff as well as our city during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve asked every lab on our South Lake Union campus to limit their teams’ on-site presence to the absolute minimum by Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and to plan to temporarily transition almost all on-site work to remote work as early as next Monday, March 23. We can expect that such a temporary wind-down of on-site research will last at least through April 24 and possibly longer.

While we acknowledge that much of our science will be temporarily impacted, our center remains open. Our researchers continue advancing scientific excellence in viral diseases and immunotherapy as well as focusing on COVID-19 related research and clinical work. Those whose work happens primarily in labs will continue collaborating with peers, writing grant proposals, reviewing articles and papers, conducting analyses and offering their expertise as needed, including providing clinical support should the situation with COVID-19 continue escalating in our community.

Regarding our clinical trials research, our first concern is the health and well-being of our patients already enrolled in trials. We are working with regulatory agencies to enable patients to continue to receive appropriate monitoring and therapy while minimizing risk.

We are suspending enrollments, excluding trials with demonstrated efficacy, but only if our clinical researchers are convinced that the potential patient benefit outweighs the risk to patients, staff and the utilization of limited clinical care facilities.

For more information, visit Fred Hutch’s Coronavirus Overview.


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 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.


Tom Kim