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Fred Hutch at ASCO, mobile app to stop teen vaping, breast milk and the infant immune system plus new insights from precision medicine

SEATTLE — June 2, 2022 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center research findings and other news.

If you’re covering the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting, June 3 - 7, highlights from Fred Hutch researchers include:

Dr. Joe Unger will discuss broadening clinical trial eligibility to include cancer patients with brain metastases and the impact of the Medicaid expansion in increasing participation in clinical trials for patients insured through Medicaid in two separate oral presentations.

- Fred Hutch researchers will share insights on skin cancer in vulnerable populations, new treatment approaches for Merkel cell carcinoma and research on the genomics of neuroendocrine prostate cancer. See a list of Fred Hutch ASCO presentations.

Contact media@fredhutch.org for help setting up interviews with experts.

Public health

Hutch trial will test new app to help teens stop vaping
Public health researcher Dr. Jonathan Bricker is launching a new research project to help teens stop vaping. The study will develop and test, via a randomized controlled trial, the first-ever mobile smartphone app to help teens stop vaping nicotine. He plans to adapt a digital therapeutics app he designed to help adults quit smoking cigarettes, Quit2Heal, into an age-appropriate app to help younger people stop vaping.
Media contact: Kat Wynn, kwynn@fredhutch.org

Lessons from mom: How to be the best immune system you can be
Much like actual infants, infant immune systems are short on experience. They need to be taught how to differentiate friend from foe, when to fight and when to make peace. These early lessons can have long-term implications for an infant’s immune system, microbiome and general health. In a Q&A, Dr. Meghan Koch explains her research in mice on how breast milk’s immune proteins shape the infant immune system.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Cancer research

Science Says: The promise of precision medicine
Drs. Chris Li, Alice Berger and Lucas Sullivan discussed new innovations and work in precision oncology with Fred Hutch President and Director Dr. Thomas Lynch. Researchers are learning how to stop cancer by sequencing a patient’s tumor, studying its metabolism, tracking the immune system’s response and more.
Media contact: Kat Wynn, kwynn@fredhutch.org

Solid tumors use a type of T cell as a shield against immune attack
A team led by Hutch immunologist Dr. Martin Prlic, staff scientist Dr. Florian Mair and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Jami Erickson published findings that reveal an unexpected trick in cancer’s playbook that may fool an important component of our immune systems into knocking down our natural defenses against solid tumors. They identified a subset of T cells that show up in great numbers in head and neck tumors, but not in similar tissues of the mouth inflamed by common ailments such as gum disease.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

HIV research

Test of a new 'germline-targeting' HIV vaccine prepares to launch
Fred Hutch immunologist Dr. Leo Stamatatos has been developing an HIV vaccine since 2013, and now it’s ready for its first phase of testing in human volunteers. The trial, which will be run by the Hutch-based HIV Vaccine Trials Network under the name HVTN 301, will enroll 52 participants at six sites across the U.S., including at the Vaccine Trials Unit in Seattle.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Health equity

Indigenous health equity focus of Pathways Symposium
This year’s Pathways to Equity Symposium, hosted by the Fred Hutch/University of Washington/Seattle Children’s Cancer Consortium, featured keynote speaker Dr. Donald Warne, who shared personal experiences of health inequity in indigenous communities and how communities need to come together to enact change. The program also featured updates from the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement and the presentation of two health equity awards.
Media contact: Kat Wynn, kwynn@fredhutch.org

Science spotlight
Science Spotlight is a monthly installment of articles written by postdoctoral fellows at Fred Hutch that summarize new research papers from Hutch scientists. If you’re interested in learning more or covering these topics, contact: media@fredhutch.org

A bit of hit and miss – how well antibody responses in pre-clinical models resemble human responses

Breaking down barriers: Language and survival outcomes after transplant

Do viruses have heads, shoulders, knees, and toes?

Good and surprising news finds germline mutations are rare in low-risk prostate cancer

Access to Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials: A County-Level Analysis

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is an independent, nonprofit, unified adult cancer care and research center that is clinically integrated with UW Medicine, a world leader in clinical care, research and learning. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center was created in April 2022 by the merger of longtime partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Together, our fully integrated research and clinical care teams seek to discover new cures for the world’s deadliest diseases and make life beyond cancer a reality.

The first National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the Pacific Northwest, Fred Hutch is a global leader in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS, immunotherapy and COVID-19, confirming our reputation as one of the world’s leading cancer, infectious disease and biomedical research centers. Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services, and has network affiliations with hospitals in five states.

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