Supercharging the human body’s immune system to locate, recognize and attack tumor cells holds tremendous promise. Your support is instrumental to making this next frontier of cancer research possible.
While cancer’s greatest trick is its ability to evade and outwit the body’s defenses, our scientists are discovering new ways to tap into the immune system’s inherent disease-fighting power to target diseased cells and avoid healthy ones.
Since 1970, when a team of scientists led by Dr. E. Donnall Thomas pioneered bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for previously incurable blood cancers, Fred Hutch has been at the forefront of this game-changing field of research.
And private supporters have fueled every breakthrough, every discovery, every improvement in treatment. In fact, some of our most exciting clinical research takes place in the Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic, a 9,000-square-foot facility designed specifically to care for patients who are participating in clinical studies or receiving FDA-approved cellular immunotherapies. This first-of-its-kind facility — opened in 2016 and staffed by a team of top clinicians, researchers, nurses and other specialists — enables extensive monitoring of each patient and faster and more extensive data gathering, all of which helps to accelerate the development of the next generation of immune-based therapies.
Multiple myeloma researchers discovered that pairing CAR T-cell therapy with a compound that made tumor cells more easily detected by those souped-up immune cells was both safe and effective, offering hope to patients of this notoriously evasive cancer.
In cases where leukemia patients’ cancer cells evolved to evade a previously effective form of immunotherapy, Fred Hutch researchers found that a specialized T cell receptor could help modified immune cells adapt and continue to recognize tumor cells as they change.
Patients recovering from bone marrow transplants are especially susceptible to a common virus that would give most people a mild cold. Our researchers are studying whether laboratory-manufactured copies of naturally occurring antibodies could give these patients an added layer of defense.
Vaccines offer a way to train patients’ immune system to detect and eliminate cancer. Now Fred Hutch researchers are showing some success in developing unconventional vaccines that use T cells to train the rest of the immune system to make more efficient antibodies.
Dr. Srivastava works to improve cancer immunotherapies, particularly CAR-T cell therapies, by applying insights gleaned from studying how normal and engineered T cells perform within tumors.
Dr. Hill, who holds the José Carreras/E. Donnall Thomas Endowed Chair for Cancer Research, specializes in blood stem cell transplantation and a complication known as graft-vs.-host disease, or GVHD. In particular, he focuses on the immunological mechanisms initiating both acute and chronic forms of GVHD.
Dr. Bleakley, who holds the Gerdin Family Endowed Chair for Leukemia Research, is a pediatric leukemia specialist who focuses on improving survival and decreasing treatment side effects for patients, especially children, who have high-risk forms of leukemia.
Dr. Greenberg, who holds the Rona Jaffe Foundation Endowed Chair, is an internationally recognized expert in cancer immunotherapy. His early discoveries showed how to target diseases with immune T cells, and he continues to drive this now burgeoning field.