Make clinical trials more inclusive, measure vaccine protection against COVID and the results of new HIV vaccines


SEATTLE – September 1, 2021 – Below are summaries of Fred Hutch’s recent discoveries and other news.

Health disparities

Cancer clinical trials exclude too many patients: that’s changing Enrollment in new cancer treatment clinical trials has returned to normal, at least within the SWOG Cancer Research Network. But far too many cancer patients can’t participate due to overly restrictive testing criteria, say cancer organizations and scientists like Dr Joseph Unger by Fred Hutch, whose new study in the JAMA Network Open showed there was little evidence of reduced enrollment in treatment trials throughout the first year of the pandemic. You can follow Dr Unger on Twitter to keep up to date with his latest studies.

Cancer Health Equity Now: Policies for Health Equity A new podcast episode from Fred Hutch’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement presents discussions on health equity policies in Washington State. The episode is hosted by Danté Morehead, community health educator Fred Hutch, with guest Dillon van Rensburg, community health educator for rural populations, and Senator Emily Randall of Washington’s 26th District.

Research against cancer

Measure 170 times, cut once: high throughput drug screening for multiple myeloma Multiple myeloma is a very heterogeneous disease with 63 known common mutations. Despite the availability of many approved drugs, varying responses to these drugs mean that the disease remains incurable. Researchers at Fred Hutch recently published their findings on creating a multiple myeloma screening system to better help patients and physicians make treatment decisions.

A new calculation method opens a window on the behavior of immune cells Immune cells have many jobs to do, including providing an essential building block for cancer treatment. Specialized receptors of a type of immune cell called a T cell help regulate the activity and immune roles of T cells. New computational method published in Nature Biotechnology could help reveal hidden biological patterns that link the receptor T cell, or TCR, gene sequences and T cell function. Researchers plan to use the tool to better understand complex groups of T cells and their response to a tumor.

Could genetic twins team up against cancer? In a new study from Cell Reports, scientists at Fred Hutch describe an approach that uncovers gene duplications. About two-thirds of human genes have a duplicate copy with overlapping functions. Cancer cells take advantage of this by relying on a gene twin to continue if the first one is lost. The new approach could help uncover targets for cancer drugs by revealing which pairs of genes play a role in cancer.


Researchers identify ‘correlates of protection’ for Moderna vaccine In the race to develop new and better vaccines and boosters to block COVID-19, scientists are eagerly looking for lab tests that can measure immune responses to quickly show how well these injections are working, instead of waiting months. the results of clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people. Today, a group of top scientists, including Dr Peter Gilbert, a biostatistician at Fred Hutch, reports that they have defined such measures – or correlates of protection – for the widely used Moderna mRNA vaccine.

New concerns about the course of the coronavirus in immunocompromised patients Following findings that variants of the COVID-19 virus are more likely to originate from patients with weakened immune systems, leading medical experts call for increased precautions in treating such people and development of better therapies and more intensive to help them fully. recover from their illness.

Science Says: Navigating between work, school and wellness in a world transformed by COVID-19 In early August, scientists on the front lines of COVID-19 discussed the latest news on the pandemic. Moderated by Dr. Tom Lynch, President and Director of Fred Hutch, topics covered included the impact the Delta Variant will have on back to school, cancer research and the future of the pandemic.


Investigational HIV vaccine provides insufficient protection in HIV prevention A phase 2b clinical trial of the HIV vaccine, known as the Imbokodo study, will stop enrollment because no statistically significant difference between the vaccine and placebo arms of the study was observed. The HIV Vaccine Trials Network, who is based at Fred Hutch and helped lead the trial, will continue to follow vaccine study participants and analyze data for immunologic correlates. Dr Larry Corey, who co-leads the HVTN, pointed out that the data could help researchers understand the immune response required by future HIV vaccines.

A New Way Forward: A Potential Path to Effective HIV Vaccines Finding vaccines to provide protection against the variety of HIV strains found around the world has been elusive, with many strains representing immense genetic diversity. HIV as a virus is also highly mutable and able to escape therapies designed to eradicate it. New research from Fred Hutch suggests that widely developed neutralizing antibodies in rare cases may hold the key to creating an effective HIV vaccine.

Awards and other notable news

Two Fred Hutch post-docs named 2021 Damon Runyon Fellows Two postdoctoral fellows at Fred Hutch, Drs. Edie Crosse and Chiang-Ho Chang are among 17 early-career scientists announced as Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Fellows. With his funding, Crosse aims to uncover the early mechanisms of blood cancers known as myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS, that new drugs could target to prevent disease progression to leukemia. Chang studies fast-evolving proteins called protamins that condense DNA in sperm. Protamins control how genes are turned on and off in semen and are also found in many cancer cells.

Seek to expand targeted therapy for lung cancer Targeted therapies have transformed outcomes for lung cancer patients. After the reduction in smoking rates, drugs that aim to alter the signature of tumor cells are the main reason that the death rate has dropped in people diagnosed with lung cancer. Recently, the lung cancer researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Dr Alice Berger received a National Institutes of Health MERIT Award who will support his efforts to extend these advances to more cancer patients.

Obliteride 2021 brings together a record number of participants worldwide On Saturday August 14, more than 5,000 people around the world biked, cooked, kayaked and more for the annual Fred Hutch event Obliterate. From Seattle to Singapore, community fundraising has brought people together to honor loved ones, have fun, and raise funds for vital research. Participants of all ages and skill levels from 42 countries, 50 U.S. states, and six continents have chosen their own fundraising and activity goals and have raised over $ 3 million to date.

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At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel Laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists are researching new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV / AIDS and other deadly diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. Seattle-based, independent, nonprofit research institute, Fred Hutch is home to the first cancer prevention research program funded by the National Cancer Institute, as well as the Women’s Health Initiative’s Clinical Coordinating Center and the HIV International Headquarters. Vaccine Trials Network and the COVID-19 Prevention Network.

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