Tip Sheet: Holiday tips during a pandemic, new COVID-19 clinical research center opens, colorectal cancer and the microbiome — and advances in ‘suspended animation’

SEATTLE – Nov. 2, 2020 – Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news with links for additional background and media contacts.

If you’re looking for sources for November’s Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and Lung Cancer Awareness Month, please see our pancreatic cancer page and our lung cancer page for a list of projects, experts, and the latest news. 

And, if you’re following the American Hematology Society’s annual meeting (virtual, Dec. 5-8), we are planning media resources to highlight Fred Hutch presentations and activities, including those by current ASH president Dr. Stephanie Lee, a physician-scientist at Fred Hutch. To be added to the media list, contact Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org


Halloween is a dress rehearsal for the holidays this year
Dr. Steve Pergam, a Fred Hutch infectious disease expert, co-authored an article, providing guidance for a safe and healthy holiday season. He wrote, “We can't let our guard down during the holidays if we want to protect our friends and family from COVID-19.” Follow him on Twitter.
Media contact: media@fredhutch.org

COVID-19 and what else? Researchers look for coinfections, new viral threats
With the approach of colder weather and people spending more time indoors, medical experts are concerned that COVID-19 might hide among other respiratory viruses that spread during cold and flu season. They’re using advanced genetic sequencing to analyze nasal swabs of COVID-19 patients to find out what germs might co-exist with the coronavirus and possibly affect the course of disease.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Scientists map structure of potent antibody against coronavirus
Fred Hutch scientists have shown that a potent antibody from a COVID-19 survivor interferes with a key feature on the surface of the coronavirus’s distinctive spikes and induces critical pieces of those spikes to break off in the process. More in a video.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Fred Hutch opens COVID-19 Clinical Research Center
The newly renovated facility on Fred Hutch’s Seattle campus is among the first stand-alone centers specifically designed to test novel interventions such as monoclonal antibodies and antivirals to treat and prevent COVID-19. More information on the COVID-19 Clinical Research Center with a Q & A here. Follow the research center’s medical director, Dr. Rachel Bender Ignacio, on Twitter.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Scientists discuss how the pandemic has changed their research
Dr. Tom Lynch led a conversation with Fred Hutch scientists Drs. Jesse Bloom, Neel Dey, and Ruth Etzioni on how they are applying their expertise to tackle an epic scientific and public health challenge.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Imperfect, widely used measures best option against COVID-19, argues Dr. Joshua Schiffer
In an editorial, Dr. Joshua Schiffer argued that our country must quickly test - and if effective, implement -a combination of measures, each moderately effective on its own, that would work together at the population level to control the spread of the coronavirus and blunt its deadliness.
Media contact: media@fredhutch.org

Patients navigate cancer during COVID-19 pandemic
Cancer and COVID-19 patients navigate through virtual care, delayed scans, and speak of the frustrations with their communities who fail to take the pandemic seriously. You can watch Dr. Tom Lynch and Dr. Marco Mielcarek discuss the complications and protocols of performing cancer treatment during the pandemic here.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Cancer metastasis

The secret signals tumor cell clusters use to drive metastasis
A team of researchers at Fred Hutch have figured out that tumor cell clusters — clumps of anywhere from three to dozens of cells that break off from a primary tumor and travel through the lymph or bloodstream — are aggressive drivers of metastatic, or stage 4, disease.
Media contact: media@fredhutch.org

Health disparities

Using genetic data to overcome disparities in colon cancer rates
A team of Fred Hutch public health researches reiterate the importance of studying different populations and explain their two studies on tumor genomes and microbiomes.
Media contact: media@fredhutch.org

Suspended animation

Study reveals element in blood is part of human — and hibernating squirrel — stress response
A new study shows that the element iodide’s ability to dampen the harm of stress-induced inflammation points to potential uses in treating traumatic injuries, including sepsis and blunt force trauma.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Other notable news

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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.