Tip Sheet: New COVID-19 transmission study, returning to school, video of biorepositories — and a new weight loss study

Summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news

SEATTLE —  April 2, 2021 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings and other news.

April is National Minority Health Month, with a focus on the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color. See more details below on related Fred Hutch programming.

Save the date for our monthly public science event, “Science Says” on Tuesday, April 27. The theme is immunotherapy, and we’ll be talking with Hutch scientists who are using the power of the immune system to create personalized therapies. There will also be a brief update from one of our COVID-19 experts. Please RSVP HERE by Monday, April 26.


College students muster for big COVID-19 vaccine study
A recently launched study aims to answer the question of whether COVID-19 vaccines prevent asymptomatic infection and transmission of the virus. Designed and managed by researchers at the COVID-19 Prevention Network at Fred Hutch, the Prevent COVID U study will offer the Moderna vaccine to 12,000 students across the U.S. and aims to have results by the fall.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Q&A: Returning to school, post-transplant
As schools across the country grapple with what a safe reopening looks like, many families weigh the risk of virus exposure at school with the benefits of being in the classroom. We spoke with Drs. Alpana Waghmare and Neel Bhatt about how they guide parents whose children receive bone marrow transplants and who are at greater risk of infections.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

National Minority Health Month

The month of April is National Minority Health Month, and Fred Hutch will join the effort to build awareness of health inequities by focusing on a minority group each week. You can follow our Community Employees for Racial Equity resource group on Twitter for more info. Also, our Office of Community Outreach & Engagement will host their 7th annual Virtual Health & Wellness Festival, April 1-30. The event aims to provide more health information to communities.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Data science and systems biology

'Tissues are data'
In a video and accompanying story, get a behind the scenes look at some of the biorepositories at Fred Hutch. These collections of tissues amassed over decades are helping researchers discover information hidden in our cells, understand what goes wrong when we get sick, and then design new medicines to intervene.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

What's a cancer registry?
Large databases track cancer trends, spotlight health disparities and improve patient care. One called the Cancer Surveillance System is headquartered at Fred Hutch and contributes to the national registry, SEER, run by the National Cancer Institute. Learn more about how the registries work from the researcher who leads CSS, and who even had to contribute to it when he had his own cancer diagnosis.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Omics made easier
Omes and omics are proliferating these days: Genomics. Epigenomics. Proteomics. Metabolomics. Transcriptomics. But what do they mean, and why are they important? We had Fred Hutch experts explain some of the most often-studied omics and what they mean for human disease.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Outlining the molecular networks that alter cell function and behavior
Dr. Taran Gujral has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to study the molecular networks that govern cells’ ability to transition between different states, a process that is co-opted by cancer cells. The five-year, $1.2M award will allow Gujral to introduce two high school students to computational research.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Public health sciences

Fred Hutch eyes the future of weight loss
Smoking cessation researchers at Fred Hutch have adapted their tried-and-tested behavioral therapy techniques to help people lose weight. This successful pilot study uses acceptance and commitment phone therapy, and it now has a new $3.7M grant to help launch a larger clinical trial.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Vaccine and infectious diseases

5 reasons why a cancer research center has virology expertise
Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists at Fred Hutch were investigating the human immune system and how infectious agents interact with our bodies. That effort began in combating infections in cancer patients. We also know that some cancers are linked to infectious agents. With COVID-19, Fred Hutch’s deep virology expertise became crucial to the global effort to end the pandemic and now more than 20% of Fred Hutch researchers have had active projects in COVID-19.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

HIV antibody trial results offer 'proof of concept'
A large international study has shown that it is possible to prevent some HIV infections with infusions of a particularly potent protein known as a broadly neutralizing antibody, but it will likely take a combination of different and more potent proteins to block all strains of the shape-shifting virus. According to Dr. Larry Corey, results of the Antibody Mediated Prevention, or AMP, trials released earlier this year are an “important proof of concept” that demonstrated the feasibility of blocking HIV with bimonthly infusions of such antibodies.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Other notable news

Statement in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community

Dedicated supporters at the Heart of the Hutch

Working from home and showing the Heart of the Hutch

Dr. Mazyar Shadman receives the 2021 Ali Al-Johani Award


# # #

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.