The Clinical Research Division collaborates extensively with our colleagues throughout Fred Hutch as well as with our partner patient-care organizations – University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Additionally, we lead several nationwide multi-center studies aiming to improve cancer treatment and care. More than 75 percent of our faculty treat patients as well as conducting laboratory research and clinical trials.
To accelerate our research, division scientists can access critical shared institutional resources, including specimen storage, state-of-the-art imaging and structural analysis technology, pathology services, cell and reagent production, and clinical trials coordination and support.
Dr. Nancy Davidson is director of the Clinical Research Division and president and executive vice president of Clinical Affairs. She joined Fred Hutch in 2016 after serving as director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute for nearly a decade. She is a world-renowned physician-scientist in cancer biology and treatment, focusing particularly on breast cancer.
Davidson founded the Breast Cancer Program at Johns Hopkins University and has served in leadership roles and on scientific advisory boards for multiple internationally recognized cancer centers and research organizations.
In addition to seeing patients, Davidson’s team has made landmark discoveries about the way hormones affect gene expression and cell growth in breast cancer. She has also directed several important national clinical trials of new breast cancer treatments that have ultimately changed universal standards of care.
Davidson uses her scientific experience and clinical acumen to harness the collective strengths of Fred Hutch and our partner patient-care organizations. The goal is to accelerate the translation of pioneering discoveries to transform the care of patients with cancer.
Dr. Stephanie Lee joined the Hutch in 2006 after completing a hematology/oncology fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 2018, she earned an appointment as the Giuliani/Press Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.
Lee serves as Principal Investigator of the Chronic GVHD Consortium, an NIH-funded group that seeks to understand and cure chronic graft-versus-host disease, a serious complication of transplantation. In addition to her laboratory work, Lee treats patients with leukemia and other blood disorders at the Fred Hutch clinic.
Nobel Award-winning physician Dr. E. Donnall Thomas served as Fred Hutch’s founding director. His pioneering discoveries in bone marrow transplantation transformed the care of patients with leukemia and other blood cancers. Where once these diseases were virtually incurable, survival rates are now as high as 90 percent.
Thomas’s visionary leadership forged our values of bold creativity and excellence in patient care and laboratory research. His lasting legacy persists in our relentless efforts to find a cure for cancer and other debilitating diseases.
Dr. John Hansen came to Fred Hutch in 1977 when the institute was still in its infancy. Working initially with E. Donnall Thomas, he went on to make significant, lasting contributions to cancer treatment in his own right. Key discoveries from his laboratory helped researchers understand the genetic factors that dictate whether transplants are likely to succeed or fail. He was also instrumental in creating the first-of-its-kind National Marrow Donor Program in the US.
Additionally, Hansen began collections of specimens and data that have been crucial resources for countless cancer researchers worldwide. The registries and collections he established will have lasting impact on the field of cancer research well into the future.
World-renowned cancer expert Dr. Frederick R. Appelbaum served as senior vice president and director of the Clinical Research Division at the Hutch for two decades. He was also president of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance from 1998 until December 2016.
Appelbaum was instrumental in discovering autologous bone marrow transplantation, now used in over 30,000 patients annually. Recruited to the Hutch in the 1970s, he led the key clinical trials that defined the role of transplantation in the treatment of blood cancers like acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He was also critical in developing the first monoclonal antibody approved by the FDA to treat AML, known commercially as Mylotarg.
Appelbaum went on to found important national clinical trials networks, including the federally funded Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network. In September 2013, he was appointed to executive vice president and deputy director of Fred Hutch.
Dr. Oliver Press served as interim director of Fred Hutch’s Clinical Research Division for three years. A distinguished researcher and leader in his field, he was best known for his impact on the development of radioimmunotherapies. These therapies direct high-powered radiation straight to tumors using cancer-targeting antibodies.
Press had an international reputation as a researcher and clinician, and held a variety of leadership roles in his field. Committed to scientific excellence as well as to extraordinary patient care, he was also known for his dedicated mentorship of younger investigators.