Fred Hutch has collaborated with Chinese researchers for decades. With its large population in highly developed urban centers and rural areas and its growing investments in biomedical research, China provides unique opportunities to gain insights into various health issues that affect millions of people in Asia and around the world. We are sharing scientific data, statistical analysis methods and clinical research protocol development with our Chinese partners. Our China activities, which originated with our Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, are now overseen by Global Oncology, which is furthering collaboration between Fred Hutch and Chinese researchers through standing partnerships with Chinese institutions.
Our research partnerships currently focus on pathogen-associated cancers, environmental health, immunotherapy and cancer biomarkers for precision medicine. Fred Hutch’s formal partnership with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention began in 2010, following a successful collaboration in which we helped analyze data from more 300,000 Chinese clinics during an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (known as EV-71), which primarily affects young children. Dr. Thomas Kensler and colleagues have conducted a series of clinical trials in Qidong, China, and are developing strategies to protect against unavoidable exposure to environmental carcinogens in air, water and food. Kensler and Dr. Lena Yao are developing collaborations with Chinese partners in Beijing and Hangzhou.
In 2014, we established a tumor tissue repository in collaboration with China CDC and Henan Cancer Hospital. The repository will aid scientists in conducting molecular analyses of surgical and other biological specimens and will provide valuable demographic and follow-up data. In 2018, we announced a collaboration with China-based BGI Genomics in a number of research areas, including cancer genomics, immunology and infectious diseases.
Fred Hutch microbiologist Dr. Nina Salaama and Chinese partners are researching the genetic determinants of multidrug resistance for H. pylori, a bacterium associated with increased risk of stomach cancer. More than half of all cases of this cancer occur in East Asia — mostly in China, where more than 400,000 cases are diagnosed each year. In a pilot study published in 2018, Salaama and investigators at Zhengzhou University found that the strain of H. pylori may influence cancer risk.
Dr. Edus H. Warren and Dr. Andrew McGuire of Fred Hutch are collaborating with Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center in Guangzhou to evaluate tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma and to develop monoclonal antibody–based approaches to preventing Epstein-Barr virus, respectively. Fred Hutch and Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center intend to expand to other areas of cancer and infectious disease research, education and training.