Fred Hutch scientists to cover advances in immunotherapy, proteomics at AACR

March 29, 2017

Scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle are scheduled to present and discuss the latest developments in immunotherapy and proteomics at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, Research Propelling Cancer Prevention and Cures, on April 1-5. What follows is a selection of the more than 30 Hutch presentations at the AACR gathering.

Reporters interested in connecting with any of the researchers highlighted below can contact Jonathan Rabinovitz,, (206) 658-7612 or, (206) 667-2210.

Developing adoptive T-cell therapy for ovarian cancer

Dr. Kristin Anderson, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Philip Greenberg's lab at Fred Hutch, will present findings on a new adoptive T-cell therapy for ovarian cancer, a type of solid tumor with a very low survival rate among women and few new treatment options. Anderson and her colleagues engineered T cells to recognize a protein overproduced on these cancer cells, and then tested the therapy on human ovarian cancer cells in the lab and in a mouse model of ovarian cancer. The findings showed that the T cells killed human ovarian cancer cells and that the treatment extended the mice's survival. But the research also highlighted how the tumor microenvironment of ovarian cancer presents unique challenges to the therapy. She and her colleagues have identified several roadblocks to T-cell therapy that are unique to solid tumors (as compared with blood cancers, where T-cell therapy is farther toward clinical benefit) and will present strategies underway in the Greenberg lab to overcome those roadblocks with new therapies. Anderson is speaking April 4 at 3:50 p.m. Her talk is titled, "Engineering adoptive T-cell therapy for efficacy in ovarian cancer."

Beyond genomics: Using proteomics to target tumors

From the Human Genome Project onward, we've made a massive investment in science aimed at understanding human genomics. But there's a problem: Proteins, not genes, do most of the work of our cells and are the targets for most of our medicines -- and there's no standardized, reliable way to measure the vast majority of proteins in our bodies. Into this black hole steps Dr. Amanda Paulovich, an oncologist and cancer geneticist at Fred Hutch. She and her team are developing new technologies and assays for accurately measuring levels of proteins that could finally retire the prevailing technology in use for the last 50 years. The methods she and collaborators have developed are poised to make the genome actionable for patients at last by opening a window into the missing biology of our proteome. Paulovich, whose lab was recently tapped by the Cancer Moonshot to identify new tumor markers using advanced proteomics, will speak April 5 at 10:20 a.m. Her lecture is titled, "Translational mass spectrometry: Making the genome actionable for cancer patients."

Vaccine adjuvant boosts immune response to sarcomas

An experimental drug based on a molecule in the bacterial cell wall can stimulate an immune response in advanced tumors, a Fred Hutch-led research team found in a small, early phase study in patients with metastatic soft-tissue sarcomas. After injecting the drug (called G100) into tumors just underneath the skin, Dr. Seth Pollack, an assistant member in the Hutch's clinical research division, and his colleagues observed signs of heightened immune activity in the treated tumors. G100 is used as an immune stimulator, or adjuvant, in experimental anti-cancer vaccines, and similar compounds are part of FDA-approved vaccines for HPV and hepatitis B. The growth of the treated tumors was controlled after injection in 14 of 15 participants, and one participant's injected tumor completely regressed. The researchers are now designing a new trial that would combine G100 injections with a systemic immunotherapy, with the aim of stimulating an anti-cancer response throughout the body. Dr. Yongwoo Seo, a Fred Hutch research fellow and surgery resident at the University of Washington, will present the findings April 3 from 1- 5 p.m during a poster session, "Intratumoral injection of the toll-like receptor 4 agonist G100 induces a T-cell response in the soft tissue sarcoma microenvironment." For additional background on sarcomas and immunotherapy, view this video of Dr. Pollack:

Expert sources on immunotherapy

Fred Hutch is pioneering new immunotherapies and has played a leading role in advancing our understanding of how the immune system can be harnessed to fight cancer. The following Hutch researchers will be speaking at AACR and can provide comment on developments and challenges in the field:
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening 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. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation's first cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women's Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Private contributions are essential for enabling Fred Hutch scientists to explore novel research opportunities that lead to important medical breakthroughs. For more information visit or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to