Research

A Growing Research Portfolio

Our global oncology research focuses on the biology, epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of high-burden cancers in low- and middle-income countries. We have expended our research from infection-related cancers to include other globally relevant cancers, including breast cancer, which is a leading cancer in women. Fred Hutch is also home to a global breast cancer initiative that develops context-appropriate guidelines for breast cancer control, screening, diagnosis and treatment in low- and middle-income countries. In one of our newest clinical trials in Uganda, we provide lymphoma drugs through subcutaneous injection, rather than the typical intravenous delivery. In 2018, we launched a pilot grant program to encourage Fred Hutch faculty to develop novel approaches to improve cancer diagnosis or treatment in low-and middle-income countries.

Below are a few of our current research studies.

UCI-Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Uganda

Uganda

The cornerstone of our global research is our decade-plus collaboration with the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala. The UCI was among the first sites in the world to use intravenous chemotherapy to treat cancer.

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map showing collaborative locations in China

China

Fred Hutch has collaborated with Chinese researchers for decades. China provides unique opportunities to gain insights into various health issues that affect millions of people in Asia and around the world. 

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Research Projects

Defining the Molecular Profile of Breast Cancer in Uganda and its Clinical Implications (Uganda)

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Investigators:

Jackson Orem, MBChB, MMed, PhD
Manoj Menon, MD, MPH
Solomon Kibudde, MBChB, MMed
Nixon Niyonzima, MBChB, MSC, PhD

Launched in 2018 with $1.4 million in funding from GlaxoSmithKline through the African NCD Open Lab Programme, this study is characterizing the molecular portrait and subtype prevalence of women presenting with an initial diagnosis of early stage, locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer; evaluating the potential use of widely available molecular technology to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer in resource-limited settings; and determining the feasibility of an all-oral chemotherapy regimen for the treatment of locally advanced breast cancer.

Study sites:
UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre
Uganda Cancer Institute

Phase I Study of Subcutaneous Rituximab Hyaluronidase Combined with Local Standard-of-Care Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Burkitt Lymphoma, Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma or as Monotherapy for Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus Associated Multicentric Castleman Disease in Pediatrics and Adults in Uganda

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Investigators:

Thomas Uldrick, M.D., M.S.

Henry Ddungu, MB.Ch.B., MMed

Joyce Balagadde Kambugu, M.D.

Jackson Orem, MBChB, MMed, PhD

Launched in 2019, in partnership with Roche and the Uganda Cancer Institute, this early phase trial aims to improve cure rates for children and adults with two aggressive forms of lymphoma — Burkitt lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma — as well as Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV)–associated multicentric Castleman’s disease. The research team launched the study in 2019 to evaluate a formulation of the monoclonal antibody against CD20, rituximab, that can be administered subcutaneously, or under the skin, of cancer patients.  The primary goal is to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of the new formulation of rituximab, including the optimal dosage in children. The trial will also allow the research team to conduct a preliminary assessment of its efficacy as a platform for other translational studies to help us better understand the unique biology of Burkitt lymphoma in Africa. View the study brochure to learn more.

Study sites:

UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre
Uganda Cancer Institute

Human Herpesvirus-8 Replication and Kaposi Sarcoma Response to Treatment

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Investigators:

Warren Phipps, MD, MPH
Edus H. Warren, MD, PhD
Jackson Orem, MBChB, MMed, PhD

This study is defining the relationship between human herpesvirus-8 replication and Kaposi sarcoma treatment outcomes and evaluating the potential of HHV-8 to serve as a prognostic biomarker in people with Kaposi sarcoma.

Study sites:
Uganda Cancer Institute
UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre

HIV Integration-Mediated Modulation of Immune Regulation in HPV-Associated Cancers (Uganda)

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This study of women with HIV who are found to have precancerous lesions during routine cervical cancer screening is comparing those whose precancers spontaneously resolve with those who develop cancer. The investigators aim to determine whether a novel mechanism may be partly responsible for the high incidence of HPV-associated cancers in people with HIV infection.

Study sites:
UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre
Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Fred Hutch
University of Manitoba