News Releases

Tip Sheet: Colorectal cancer, COVID-19 super-spreading, gene therapy for herpes, contagious cancer in Tasmanian devils – and more

Summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news with links for additional background and media contacts.

SEATTLE – Sept. 1, 2020 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news with links for additional background and media contacts.

Health disparities and colorectal cancer

Dr. Rachel Issaka: PSA on colorectal cancer
Following actor Chadwick Boseman’s death from colorectal cancer at age 43, Dr. Rachel Issaka – a gastroenterologist and colon cancer researcher at Fred Hutch – shared statistics, symptoms and screening information about the disease. “Even though anyone can get colorectal cancer, Black people are more likely than any other group to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and to die from the disease,” she said in a video distributed on Twitter
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

There will be several updates and research released on the impact of COVID-19 and cancer on communities in September. Follow Dr. Rachel Issaka and Fred Hutch’s Office of Community Outreach & Engagement for more.


Computer model offers insights on COVID-19 super-spreading
New research compares transmission patterns of SARS-COV-2 with those of influenza. In a paper posted on medRxiv, the team used a computer simulation to show how COVID-19 spread is largely driven by contact with people who happen, briefly, to be highly contagious.
Media contact:

Also, hear Dr. Josh Schiffer discuss COVID-19 with and actor, comedian Joel McHale:

Infectious disease

New gene therapy approach eliminates at least 90% latent herpes simplex virus
Infectious disease researchers at Fred Hutch have used a gene editing approach to remove latent herpes simplex virus 1, also known as oral herpes. In Nature Communications, the team showed in a mouse model how gene therapy could cure an infection that afflicts billions of people. Also see related Fred Hutch story.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

A contagious tumor in Tasmanian devils could point toward new cancer therapies
A study published in Genetics showed how a single mutation underlies some cases of spontaneous regression of a rare contagious cancer afflicting Tasmanian devils. The discovery could lead to ways to trick tumors into regressing on their own.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Clinical oncology

Watch: Why Dr. Andrew Hsieh is optimistic about the future of treatment for bladder cancer
Physician-scientist Dr. Andrew Hsieh discusses how he aims to make a difference for patients with this understudied cancer.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Precision medicine

Shifting liver cancer cells away from migratory state could reduce their drug resistance
Researchers hope lab-based study helps build foundation for personalized treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

New insights into drug resistance in small cell lung cancer
Scientists discover a single gene’s outsized role in drug resistance — and use its vulnerability to re-sensitize tumors to chemotherapy in preclinical models.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Experimental, precision strategy targets unique cancer protein found in certain acute myeloid leukemia cases
T-cell therapies that fight cancer are FDA approved for some blood cancers, but getting them to work for acute myeloid leukemia has not been as successful. New preclinical research from Fred Hutch shows how to fight the aggressive cancer by engineering T cells to target genetic mutations on AML cells. 
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Living with cancer

New resource designed to help improve prostate cancer patients’ overall quality of life
The Institute for Prostate Cancer Research launched a series of exercise videos for people with prostate cancer in summer 2020 to help these patients design and maintain an individual exercise routine.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

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