Tip Sheet: Computational tools for liquid biopsies, new art inspired by AAANHPI community and new metastasis center

SEATTLE — Feb. 3, 2023 — Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center research findings and other news.

If you’re covering the Feb. 15-19 Tandem Meetings of the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy and Center for International Bone Marrow Transplantation Research, follow Fred Hutch on Twitter at #Tandem23. Fred Hutch highlights include:

Cancer research

Fred Hutch launches MET-X, a ‘transformative approach to metastatic disease’
Fred Hutch is launching the Center for Metastasis Research Excellence (MET-X), led by researcher Dr. Cyrus Ghajar. MET-X will be an interdisciplinary and collaborative program focused solely on solid tumor metastasis: its detection and prevention, but also treatments and ultimately, cures for this advanced stage of cancer. Solid tumor metastasis, often referred to as metastatic cancer, is when cancer cells spread to other areas of the body. 
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

New computational tools widen horizons for liquid biopsies
A suite of new computational tools, developed at Fred Hutch and recently shared in Cancer Discovery and Nature Communications, could help scientists use liquid biopsies to get more information about tumor gene regulation. Computational biologist Dr. Gavin Ha and prostate cancer researcher Dr. Peter Nelson led the development of the new tools.
Media contact: Kat Wynn, kwynn@fredhutch.org

Community news

Art that weaves a community together
Chinese-Iranian artist Saiyare Refaei joined Fred Hutch’s Public Art and Community Dialogue Program. Her art was created to begin discussions about how employees who identify as part of Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAANHPI) communities connect with their culture, with Fred Hutch and with the larger community. Her work was shared on Jan. 24 in an unveiling ceremony for the community. Refaei’s print will be displayed as a flag, a banner and as a print that will hang in a Fred Hutch building. It joins two other works of art that highlight the Black and Indigenous communities at Fred Hutch. 
Media contact: Kat Wynn, kwynn@fredhutch.org

Health Equity: Learning from Latino/a/x Communities in Washington State
In the latest podcast episode of Health Equity Now, Fred Hutch’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement joined representatives from Latino/a/x community organizations in conversation about health equity. Iris Navarro Diaz de Leon of El Centro De La Raza in Seattle and Jennyfer Mesa of Latinos En Spokane, discussed how their organizations overcome health barriers through access to immigration and financial support as well as translation services.    
Media contact: Kat Wynn, kwynn@fredhutch.org

Retirements, awards and other news

Chromatin researcher and professor of radiation oncology Dr. Mark Groudine retires after four decades
During his four decades at Fred Hutch, Dr. Mark Groudine contributed to fundamental scientific discoveries about the interplay between DNA packaging, DNA’s 3D organization and gene expression, and was a professor of radiation oncology at UW Medicine. Groudine also took on leadership roles as director of the Basic Sciences Division at Fred Hutch, Fred Hutch’s deputy director and twice as acting president and director. Groudine will become professor emeritus.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Fred Hutch’s Dr. Ross Prentice retires
Biostatistician Dr. Ross Prentice worked at Fred Hutch and the University of Washington for nearly 50 years in a variety of roles. He served as the principal investigator of the Women’s Health Initiative and led the efforts to establish Fred Hutch as the WHI’s Clinical Coordinating Center. For more than 25 years, he served as senior vice president and director of the PHS Division while at the same time making major contributions to population science and clinical research.
Media contact: Claire Hudson, crhudson@fredhutch.org

Geneticist and cell-cycle expert Dr. Linda Breeden retires
Dr. Linda Breeden spent her career focusing on the factors and DNA elements that turn on the genes needed to jumpstart the cell cycle in resting cells. After making notable contributions to the cell cycle field, Breeden began studying how cells stop the cell cycle by entering the dormant state known as quiescence. Her work revealed key factors that regulate cell proliferation – a hallmark of cancer – as well as factors that regulate dormancy.
Media contact: Molly McElroy, mwmcelro@fredhutch.org

Dr. Ajay Gopal named Stephen H. Petersdorf Endowed Chair in Cancer Care at UW Medicine
Oncologist Dr. Ajay Gopal was appointed the Stephen H. Petersdorf Endowed Chair in Cancer Care, the chair was renamed in 2015 for the late physician-researcher who specialized in leukemia and lymphoma. Gopal is a specialist in lymphoma and other blood cancers, serving as the medical director for Fred Hutch’s Hematology and Hematological Malignancy Program. Several of the treatments his teams have developed have gone on to become part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.
Media contact: Heather Platisha, hplatisha@fredhutch.org

News tips via social
A round up of what our experts are sharing on social media. Contact media@fredhutch.org for more information.

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

# # #

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center unites comprehensive care and advanced research to provide the latest cancer treatment options and accelerate discoveries that prevent, treat and defeat cancer and infectious diseases worldwide.

Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is an independent, nonprofit organization and the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington. We have earned a global reputation for our track record of discoveries in cancer, infectious disease and basic research, including important advances in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy and COVID-19 vaccines. 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 four states. Fred Hutch also serves as UW Medicine’s cancer program.

Please note that our organization was renamed Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in April 2022, following the merger of long-time partners, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.