Fred Hutch at ASH: Fauci fireside chat, latest on cell therapies, repairing immune function, COVID and clots — and more

The 62nd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exposition to be held virtually Dec. 5-8, 2020

SEATTLE — Nov. 18, 2020 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s latest findings on cell therapies, repairing immune function, and more will be featured at the 62nd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting & Exposition, to be held virtually Dec. 5 – 8.

Dr. Stephanie Lee, ASH president and Fred Hutch physician-scientist will kick off the meeting with a fireside chat with Dr. Anthony Fauci. She will also chair ASH’s annual E. Donnall Thomas Lecture, named for the Hutch’s Nobel laureate Dr. Thomas, who would have turned 100 this year. This lectureship recognizes pioneering research achievements.

Lee shared other meeting highlights:

  • A Dec. 5 special session on race and science.
  • A Dec. 6 plenary session on the a-TREAT Trial: testing a new treatment to prevent bleeding in patients with hematologic malignancies who have low blood platelet counts due to chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation.
  • A Dec. 6 special session on COVID-19.
  • The Dec. 8 presidential session will address ways to make effective hematologic therapies available to more people. Three talks will span the field of hematology, from cellular immunotherapy to hematopoietic cell transplantation to red cells and platelets for transfusions to increase access.

Lee holds the Giuliani/Oliver Press Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at Fred Hutch. Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieLeeMD.

See below for selected presentations by Fred Hutch researchers, along with Fred Hutch experts to follow on Twitter. Presentations times are in the Pacific time zone.

Reporters requesting additional information or interviews, contact Molly McElroy:, 206.941.8146 (cell). For media registration for the conference, see the ASH newsroom.

For more information on Fred Hutch presentations at ASH, see our ASH 2020 events page.

Repairing immune function 

Damage-Induced Pyroptotic Cell Death Facilitates Regeneration of the Thymus
As a small but mighty butterfly-shaped gland in the chest, the thymus is the training ground for T cells to mature into disease-killing machines in the body. But over time, the thymus wears out from stress, infection and age. Finding ways to help repair it could have broad implications for preventing and treating cancer. Dr. Sinead Kinsella, a researcher in the lab of Dr. Jarrod Dudakov, will present findings on a new way of thymus regeneration in which a cell death process called pyroptosis is critical in releasing large numbers of signaling molecules that can trigger the thymus to repair itself. 

Abstract No. 735 (oral presentation)
Monday, Dec. 7, 2020: 2:45 p.m.
On Twitter:
Dr. Sinead Kinsella: @shinkinsella
Dr. Jarrod Dudakov: @Dudakov_lab

T-cell receptor therapy

The immune system plays a key role in detecting tumor antigens and killing cancer cells. But immune response to tumor antigens varies and is often insufficient to prevent tumor growth and relapse. Fred Hutch physician-scientists have identified specific tumor antigens that can be targeted to trigger a potent immune response. The team is creating immunotherapy using genetically modified T cells, called TCR T-cell immunotherapy, to augment these responses in patients.

Phase I Study of Adoptive Immunotherapy with HA-1-Specific CD8+ and CD4+ Memory T Cells for Children and Adults with Relapsed Acute Leukemia after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HCT): Trial in Progress
Dr. Elizabeth Krakow will present a Phase I trial in progress. It uses a T-cell receptor therapy developed by Dr. Marie Bleakley to treat adult and pediatric patients who have relapsed after receiving a stem cell (blood and marrow) transplant for leukemia or other related conditions.
Abstract No. 492 (oral presentation)
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020: 2:15 p.m.

A Shared SF3B1 Neoantigen Is Presented on Primary Malignant Cells and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Hematopoietic Lines

Neoantigens, tiny markers that arise from cancer mutations, flag cells as cancerous and could lead to more targeted precision immunotherapies. But, because hundreds of mutations exist on a tumor, targeting the right neoantigen is crucial to trigger an immune response. Dr. Melinda Biernacki, working with the Hutch’s Dr. Marie Bleakley, will present findings that identify a specific neoantigen, SF3B1, present in Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), as a promising target for treatment with immunotherapy.
Abstract No. 3265 (poster presentation)
Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

CD19 CAR T-cell therapy

Hutch scientists continue to take deep dives into understanding how CD19 CAR T-cell therapy works and how to make it work better for more patients.

Age, performance status, and comorbidities in relation to IEC-associated toxicities (including ICANS) followed by live Q&A panel discussion
Scientific Workshop
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, 2:45 p.m. – 3:17 p.m.
To be presented by Jordan Gauthier, MD
On Twitter: 
Dr. Jordan Gauthier: @drjgauthier

High IL-15 Serum Concentrations Are Associated with Response to CD19 CAR T-Cell Therapy and Robust In Vivo CAR T-Cell Kinetics
Findings by Dr. Jordan Gauthier, a clinician-scholar at Fred Hutch, suggest that high levels of IL-15 could improve CD19 CAR T-cell efficacy and in vivo persistence.
Abstract No. 1442 (poster presentation)
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
ASH Virtual Poster Walk
Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, 7 a.m.
On Twitter: 
Dr. Jordan Gauthier: @drjgauthier

Patient-Reported Outcomes at Time of CAR-T Cell Therapy
Abstract No. 3485 (poster presentation)
Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
To be presented by Erin Mullane, DNP

CD20 CAR T-cell therapy

Third Generation CD20 Targeted CAR T-Cell Therapy (MB-106) for Treatment of Patients with Relapsed/Refractory B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Researchers at Fred Hutch have developed a CAR T-cell therapy targeting CD20, a specific protein marker in blood cancers, for treating patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma who have relapsed or previously been non-responsive to treatment. Dr. Mazyar Shadman will share early results from the ongoing trial taking place at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the Hutch’s clinical-care partner.
Abstract No. 1443 (poster presentation)
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
On Twitter: 
Dr. Mazyar Shadman: @mshadman


Therapeutic Targeting of Mesothelin in Acute Myeloid Leukemia with Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy
Abstract No. 1959 (poster presentation)
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
To be presented by Quy Le, PhD

More cell therapy

Challenges in Cell Therapy: Relapse and Toxicities – Live Q&A
Even as a growing number of cancer patients benefit from advances in immunotherapy, relapse and toxic side effects from the treatment remain challenging. Dr. Aude Chapuis will discuss new strategies using genetically modified immune cells to improve the next generation of adoptive T cell therapies in the treatment of solid tumor and blood cancers.
Scientific Program, Live Q&A
Saturday, December 5, 2020, 9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Precision medicine and AML

Researchers from the lab of Dr. Soheil Meshinchi, a pediatric oncologist and acute myeloid leukemia specialist, are mapping genetic mutations to how well a patient will respond to various treatments. Their presentations show that ongoing genomic profiling work can help guide targeted treatments for patients with AML, which is the deadliest leukemia among children and young adults.

Genome and Transcriptome Profiling of Monosomy 7 AML Defines Novel Risk and Therapeutic Cohorts
Abstract No. 274, (oral presentation)
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, 2:30 p.m.
To be presented by Rhonda E. Ries, MA

Clinical Benefit and Tolerability of Crenolanib in Children with Relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia Harboring Treatment Resistant FLT3 ITD and Variant FLT3 TKD Mutations Treated on Compassionate Access
Abstract No. 1973, (poster presentation)
Sunday, December 6, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
To be presented by Katherine Tarlock, MD

Mesothelin Expression Is Associated with Extramedullary Disease and Promotes In Vivo Leukemic Growth in Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Abstract No. 1993, (poster presentation)
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
To be presented by Katherine Tarlock, MD

Target-Informed Repurposing of Immunotherapies in AML – a Transcriptome Based Approach for Identifying Immediately Available Therapeutics
Abstract No. 2003, (poster presentation)
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, 7:00 a.m
. – 3:30 p.m.
To be presented by Amanda R. Leonti, MS

Blood clots and cancer, COVID-19

Dr. Gary Lyman, a medical oncologist, hematologist and public health researcher, has helped develop treatment guidelines for managing blood clots in cancer patients and more recently in COVID-19 patients. His colleagues will present on the COVID-19 findings at this year’s ASH. Dr. Lyman is available to speak with media.
On Twitter: 
Dr. Gary Lyman: @gary_lyman

Severity of Sars-Cov-2 Infection in Patients with Hematologic Malignancies: A COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) Registry Analysis
Abstract No. 1632 (poster presentation)
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Incidence of and Risk Factors for Venous Thromboembolism Among Hospitalized Patients with Cancer and COVID-19: Report from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) Registry
Abstract No. 204; Session No. 701 (oral presentation)
Monday, Dec. 7, 2020: 2:45 PM

Healthcare economics

Comparison of Outcomes and Utilization of Therapy in Multiple Myeloma Patients in the USA and Alberta, Canada
Abstract No. 2516 (poster presentation)
Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
To be presented by Andrew J. Cowan, MD
On Twitter: 
Dr. Andrew Cowan: @andrewcowanmd
Co-author Dr. Veena Shankaran: @ShankaranVeena

Cell biology

Distinct Transcriptional signatures distinguish the emergence of multipotent progenitors and hematopoietic stem cells from endothelial precursors in the murine embryo
Abstract No. 908, (poster presentation)
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
To be presented by Tessa Dignum, BS

Note: Scientists at Fred Hutch played a role in developing these discoveries, and Fred Hutch and certain of its scientists may benefit financially from this work in the future.

                                                                # # #

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.


Media Contact:
Molly McElroy