News Releases

Tip Sheet: Celebrate holidays safely, COVID-19 vaccines, challenges in HIV vaccine trials — and new insights on evolution

Summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news, plus resources for the American Society of Hematology’s annual meeting

SEATTLE — Dec. 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 following the American Society of Hematology’s annual meeting (virtual, Dec. 5-8), see our media tip sheet highlighting Fred Hutch presentations and activities, including those by current ASH president Dr. Stephanie Lee, a physician-scientist at Fred Hutch.

Also, the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium will take place virtually Dec. 8-11. Follow @fredhutch on Twitter for highlights on Fred Hutch presentations. 

COVID-19 and the holidays

Celebrate safely: Scientists offer advice, urge vigilance during holidays
Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Tom Lynch and an expert panel touched on issues that are dominating the headlines and our lives, including skyrocketing rates of COVID-19 infection, encouraging news about vaccine trials, and provided a guide to celebrating the holidays and ideas for staying connected.
Media contact:


COVID-19 vaccines

Fred Hutch statement on Phase 3 vaccine interim analysis of Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine candidate
Dr. Larry Corey, virologist at Fred Hutch and co-leader of the COVID-19 Prevention Network’s vaccine testing program, commented on early results from the Pfizer and BioNTech Phase 3 vaccine candidate against COVID-19.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,

Fred Hutch statement on the interim analysis of the Phase 3 trial of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19
Dr. Larry Corey, virologist at Fred Hutch and co-leader of the COVID-19 Prevention Network’s vaccine testing program, commented on an interim analysis of the Phase 3 trial of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,

Fred Hutch begins experimental COVID-19 vaccine efficacy trial
Fred Hutch is enrolling volunteers for a COVID-19 vaccine trial. The Phase 3 study will examine whether AstraZeneca’s AZD1222 vaccine can protect against COVID-19 and also prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, 


Clinical trials

Cancer clinical trials: Creativity in the face of COVID-19
The pandemic added dire new risks for patients, unprecedented risks for trial staff members and an unexpected need to work local healthcare resources into the equation. Here are examples of how researchers adapted their work to safely enable clinical trials to continue.
Media contact:

Breast cancer researchers from Hutch / UW Cancer Consortium gain BCRF funding
New grants will support studies aimed at bettering patient outcomes through diet, exercise, vaccines and more. This work will focus on almost every aspect of breast cancer: from its genetic drivers and potentially reducible risk factors, to treatment and survivorship, to new therapies and practices that could help those with metastatic, or stage 4, disease.
Media contact: Tom Kim,

New Fred Hutch-led trial shows no benefits of dairy foods for blood sugar regulation
Findings from the trial showed that the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels was not directly affected by whether participants consumed dairy foods. However, consumption of either low-fat or full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese reduced insulin sensitivity.
Media contact:


Cancer research

Targeted immunotherapy for deadly prostate cancer shows promise in preclinical test
Dr. John Lee discussed his new preclinical study using an antibody-drug conjugate for neuroendocrine prostate cancer. The approach involves targeting some cancer cells that have high levels of a specific protein marker, which can be used as a guide for chemotherapy.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,


Infectious disease

From the freezers, a speedier way to evaluate antiviral drugs
In studies that applied artificial intelligence and modern diagnostics to 30-year-old blood samples pulled from freezers, scientists showed how tests tracking levels of a virus in the serum of recovering bone marrow transplant patients reliably charted the eventual course of their disease.
Media contact:
Claire Hudson,

HIV vaccine trials are complicated by the availability of PrEP
December 1 marked #WorldAIDSDay 2020, and while the growing use of HIV-prevention drugs has posed a challenge to running vaccine trials, researchers are charting pathways to conduct trials that can accurately and ethically test the latest generation of candidate vaccines.
Media contact: Claire Hudson,


Data science

New regional collaborations will accelerate innovation in data-intensive medical science
Three research teams in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia receive pilot funding from Cascadia Data Alliance, which aims to promote collaborations that may answer important scientific questions and to develop new ways for using technical solutions and best practices, data and methods standardization, and Azure cloud services that could be broadly applied in future research.
Media contact:


Genetics and evolution

Old and slow isn't always the winning combo for critical genes

It’s generally thought that the more critical a gene is to cellular function, the more likely it is an “old” part of DNA and relatively unchanged by evolution. New work from scientists at Fred Hutch upends that belief by demonstrating that some essential genes are actually “young” and evolving rapidly.
Media contact: Molly McElroy,

Other notable news

Fred Hutch joins Washington Employers for Racial Equity

Essential workers illustrate the Heart of the Hutch

Dr. Stanley Riddell awarded Burke O'Reilly Family Endowed Chair in Immunotherapy


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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.