Research on cancers that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries is an important priority at Fred Hutch. Many of those cancers are associated with infectious diseases such as viral hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV and human papillomavirus. We are also expanding our research portfolio to include other high-burden cancers in low- and middle-income countries, such as breast cancer, with studies focusing on cancer biology, diagnosis and treatments such as immunotherapy. In Uganda, our Global Oncology program has conducted more than 30 research studies and built a biorepository with over 160,000 specimens to better understand how to prevent, treat and ultimately cure virally mediated cancers. In partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute, we built the UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre, a world-class research, training and outpatient care facility in Kampala that opened in 2015. Our Global Oncology program is also advancing collaboration between researchers at Fred Hutch and scientists in China, including research on cancer genomics, immunology and infectious diseases, through standing partnerships with Chinese institutions.
Fred Hutch administers the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, an international partnership with 30 research sites on five continents that is working to develop an effective HIV vaccine. We are an integral part of the Kenya Research Program, a world leader in interdisciplinary, collaborative HIV research. At the Seattle Malaria Clinical Trials Center, we test experimental vaccines and treatments for malaria, which kills more than 1 million people each year and increases the risk of a childhood cancer called Burkitt lymphoma.
We are also a leader in using novel quantitative approaches to answer scientific questions emerging from research in our labs and around the globe. We share our expertise in biostatistics, computational biology, epidemiology and mathematical modeling with partners and cancer research consortia worldwide, conduct large-scale meta-analyses, and maintain cell and DNA banks as shared resources.
Launched in 2004, our Global Oncology program works to better understand and improve diagnosis, treatment and prevention strategies for high-burden cancers in low-resource settings, including cancers caused by infectious diseases. Through our groundbreaking research and training activities in Uganda we are developing approaches that have the potential to be scaled up in low- and middle-income countries and around the world.
Improving cancer diagnosis rates in low-resource parts of the world depends in large part on the availability of affordable diagnostic tools. Our innovations in this area include a low-cost method of testing for chronic myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer, using a drop of blood on a paper card. Through a Fred Hutch partnership with the Max Foundation and Novartis, the manufacturer of the leading CML drug, called Gleevec, doctors in 80 low- and middle-income countries can mail the test kits to Fred Hutch in Seattle for processing and patients diagnosed with CML can receive access to Gleevec at no cost.
Patients come from around the globe to receive first-rate cancer treatment at Fred Hutch and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the clinical care partnership that includes Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine. SCCA is consistently rated as one of the top cancer care centers in the country and continues to add faculty and treatment clinics. SCCA also has one of the most active clinical trial programs in the world, with more than 450 clinical trials available to our patients.
The UCI-Fred Hutch Cancer Centre in Kampala can accommodate 20,000 outpatient visits per year and serves a five-country region. Our partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute, the UCI-Hutchinson Collaboration, unites our expertise in leading large studies of cancer and infectious diseases with the UCI’s long history of achievement, including the first description of infection-related cancer and the first use of combination chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
With more than 200 postdoctoral fellows from around the globe working in our labs, Fred Hutch plays a major role in training the next generation of cancer and infectious disease researchers. More than 40 percent of the research papers published by Fred Hutch scientists include at least one coauthor from outside the U.S.
We have also trained clinicians from around the world in bone marrow transplantation, a procedure that was pioneered at Fred Hutch more than 40 years ago under the direction of Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, who won a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work.
Since 2004, we have been helping to train the next generation of African medical professionals to address the rising cancer burden in low- and middle -income countries. Through our partnership with the UCI in Kampala, we trained more than a dozen Ugandan physician-scientists; we are now instructing nurses in oncology care and are training Ugandan researchers in the study of HIV-associated cancers and blood cancers. At our Cape Town Lab in South Africa, we are training African scientists in cutting-edge research techniques to support the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.