Together in 2015, we raised $2.65 million for cancer research at Fred Hutch. This research spans everything from lifestyle choices to environmental and genetic factors that contribute to cancer risk. The complete picture helps inform understanding of what’s needed to cure cancer.
CLINICAL RESEARCH SUPPORT (CRS)
As an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Research Center, Fred Hutch and its research collaborators, the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s, and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, form the Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium and stands among the most distinguished places for cancer research and care in the United States. This distinction means we’re eligible for the vital NCI research funds that have powered so many discoveries at Fred Hutch for the past 40 years and will continue to do so. These discoveries hinge on our ability to push the edge of science and that’s where Clinical Research Support (CRS) comes in.
Clinical trials are the way we make advances in how we detect, diagnose and treat cancer. It’s where ideas and innovation become cures for patients. These trials happen collaboratively across the Cancer Consortium and CRS is here to assure preeminent science makes its way to our patients in the safest manner.
CRS serves as the central resource of clinical research experts that work with and support faculty and study teams across the Cancer Consortium allowing them to do their best work fastest.
It’s because of their work that we conducted over 600 clinical trials last year and treated nearly 1,000 patients on those trials. While supporting and monitoring trials across the Cancer Consortium, their office also does things like fast-track requests from the FDA for things like “Expanded Access”, whereby patients with little hope—even with only a few days left—might gain access to a promising, yet not fully-proven treatment. This is where we learn and in the best cases, save lives immediately.
In 2015, funds from our riders on the teams at Seattle Children’s, UWMC and the SCCA went to support CRS. It’s a powerful symbol of how we all work together to advance our shared knowledge. Thank you.
Click here to learn more about Clinical Research Support at Fred Hutch.
Over 20% of the funds raised at Obliteride 2015 went to research happening in Solid Tumor Translational Research (STTR). Their website describes STTR in these words:
Solid Tumor Translational Research (STTR) is a transformative movement creating a strong sense of community among Seattle’s cancer investigators. Located in Seattle, the STTR group is comprised of investigators from four leading Northwest institutions – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
STTR envisions an environment tailored to researchers and clinicians which allows them to accelerate scientific discovery and translate it into cures for patients, both regionally and globally. With the support from our philanthropic partners, we are poised to make major research advances that will significantly improve patient quality of life and survival.
STTR has used the funds from the Obliteride to develop accurate models for the development of brain tumors so that they can understand how the disease works and how to better treat it. They have also used the funds to develop computer tools that help analyze the clinical and molecular data on thousands of cancer patients. With this, they will be able to better diagnose not only brain tumors patients, but all tumor types. In addition, these computational tools will allow them to use precision medicine approaches to identify therapies that are more likely to work based on the details of the patient’s tumor.
For more information on STTR, please check out their interactive website.
METASTATIC BREAST CANCER
We have seen legendary advancements in the understanding of breast cancer in the past few decades. As the leader of the Women’s Health Initiative, Fred Hutch investigators reported that post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy was causing breast cancer. Adjustments in protocols are now reducing breast cancer rates by about 20,000 cases a year in the U.S. alone. Additionally, we continually read about new recommendations for early screening/detection and about new understanding of which treatment plans map best to which types of breast cancer. For this we’re all thankful.
Then there’s metastatic breast cancer. Over 300,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year, with nearly ¼ of those being considered non-invasive, early forms of breast cancer. Twenty to thirty percent of early stage breast cancer diagnoses will progress on to metastatic breast cancer. Those with metastatic breast cancer have a median survival of about three years and sadly, we haven’t seen a significant change in over two decades. What’s happening between step 1—diagnosis and early treatment—and step 2—terminal relapse?
That’s what Dr. Cyrus Ghajar is exploring. He’s staring deep into the body, at terminal nodes of blood vessels. It’s thought that cancer cells may lie dormant there. The challenge is that ‘dormant’ is not good enough. We want permanent obliteration.
Something about these dormant cells is puzzling. They sit there, unreachable by the medication circulating in the blood stream, yet somehow ‘wake-able’ to a state where they can again wreak havoc.
Dr. Ghajar wants answers. Is there a way to find, reach and obliterate those cells forever? What causes them to wake? If we knew when/why/how they woke up, could we intercept them before they have the chance to reignite cancer?
These are complicated questions and their answers, while telling and vital, may lead to more questions before they lead to an administrable product. Early stage investigations like this rely on private funding for securing resources and purchasing lab materials, computers and other tools or services.
Thankfully Obliteride riders are raising the funds to keep this type of work progressing.
Click here to learn more Dr. Ghajar’s work.