Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Ask a question about 'Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center'
Start a new discussion about 'Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, (established in 1975, in Seattle, Washington) is one of the world’s leading cancer research institutes. Its interdisciplinary teams of scientists conduct research in the laboratory, at patient bedside, and in communities throughout the world to advance the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 and other diseases.

The Center's mission is "the elimination of cancer and related diseases as causes of human suffering and death".

Center researchers pioneered bone-marrow transplantation for leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

 and other blood diseases. This research has cured thousands of patients worldwide and has boosted survival rates for certain forms of leukemia from zero to as high as 85 percent.


The Center grew out of the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation, founded in 1956 by Dr. William Hutchinson. The Foundation was dedicated to the study of heart
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...

Surgery is an ancient medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate and/or treat a pathological condition such as disease or injury, or to help improve bodily function or appearance.An act of performing surgery may be called a surgical...

, cancer, and diseases of the endocrine system
Endocrine system
In physiology, the endocrine system is a system of glands, each of which secretes a type of hormone directly into the bloodstream to regulate the body. The endocrine system is in contrast to the exocrine system, which secretes its chemicals using ducts. It derives from the Greek words "endo"...

In 1964, Dr. Hutchinson's brother Fred Hutchinson
Fred Hutchinson
Frederick Charles Hutchinson was an American professional baseball player, a major league pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. He also was a manager for three major league teams...

, who had been a baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 player for the Seattle Rainiers
Seattle Rainiers
The Seattle Rainiers, originally named the Seattle Indians and also known as the Seattle Angels, were a minor league baseball team in Seattle, Washington, that played in the Pacific Coast League from 1903-06 and 1919-68...

 and Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers are a Major League Baseball team located in Detroit, Michigan. One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit in as part of the Western League. The Tigers have won four World Series championships and have won the American League pennant...

 and later managed the Rainiers, the Tigers, the St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are a professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. They are members of the Central Division in the National League of Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have won eleven World Series championships, the most of any National League team, and second overall only to...

 and the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are a Major League Baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are members of the National League Central Division. The club was established in 1882 as a charter member of the American Association and joined the National League in 1890....

, died of lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

. The next year, Dr. Hutchinson established the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as a division of the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation. The Center split off from its parent foundation in 1972, and the physical center was opened in 1975.

Today, the Center is solely a nonprofit, independent research institution and does not treat patients on site. Some of the Center's scientists, however, are also medical doctors who treat patients through the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a cancer treatment center located just north of downtown Seattle adjacent to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. SCCA was founded in 1998 by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine, and Seattle Children's as a separate, jointly governed entity...

, a patient-care facility run in collaboration with the University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

 and Seattle Children's. In 2010, Dr. Lawrence Corey
Lawrence Corey
Lawrence Corey , Professor of Medicine and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington and President of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is an American physician-scientist and an internationally recognized expert in virology, immunology and vaccine development.His discoveries...

 was appointed as the 4th President and Director of the Center following the retirement of Dr. Lee Hartwell.

Arnold Library

The Arnold Library at FHCRC was founded in 1975. It specializes in biochemistry, biology, biostatistics
Biostatistics is the application of statistics to a wide range of topics in biology...

, epidemiology, genetics, hematology, immunology, medicine, molecular biology, oncology
Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with cancer...

, pathology
Pathology is the precise study and diagnosis of disease. The word pathology is from Ancient Greek , pathos, "feeling, suffering"; and , -logia, "the study of". Pathologization, to pathologize, refers to the process of defining a condition or behavior as pathological, e.g. pathological gambling....

, pharmacology
Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function...

, public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

, radiology
Radiology is a medical specialty that employs the use of imaging to both diagnose and treat disease visualized within the human body. Radiologists use an array of imaging technologies to diagnose or treat diseases...

, surgery, and virology
Virology is the study of viruses and virus-like agents: their structure, classification and evolution, their ways to infect and exploit cells for virus reproduction, the diseases they cause, the techniques to isolate and culture them, and their use in research and therapy...


Nobel Prize Recipients

The Hutchinson Center employs three recipients of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded once a year for outstanding discoveries in the field of life science and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, in his will...

  • Linda Buck, Ph.D.
    Linda B. Buck
    Linda Brown Buck is an American biologist best known for her work on the olfactory system. She was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with Richard Axel, for their work on olfactory receptors....

    , who received the award in 2004 for solving many details of the olfactory system
    Olfactory system
    The olfactory system is the sensory system used for olfaction, or the sense of smell. Most mammals and reptiles have two distinct parts to their olfactory system: a main olfactory system and an accessory olfactory system. The main olfactory system detects volatile, airborne substances, while the...

  • Lee Hartwell, Ph.D.
    Leland H. Hartwell
    Leland Harrison Hartwell is former president and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Paul Nurse and R...

    , the Center’s president and director emeritus, who received the honor in 2001 for his discoveries regarding the mechanisms that control cell division
    Cell division
    Cell division is the process by which a parent cell divides into two or more daughter cells . Cell division is usually a small segment of a larger cell cycle. This type of cell division in eukaryotes is known as mitosis, and leaves the daughter cell capable of dividing again. The corresponding sort...

    ; and
  • E. Donnall Thomas, M.D.
    E. Donnall Thomas
    Dr. Edward Donnall Thomas is an American physician, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, and director emeritus of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In 1990 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Joseph E. Murray for the...

    , who received the award in 1990 for his pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation.

Research initiatives

Early detection
For many cancers, when the disease is detected at an early or precancerous stage, nine out of ten patients will survive. The Center leads major national and international research projects devoted to the discovery of new protein-based blood tests to diagnose cancer at its earliest, most curable stages.

Hutchinson Center researchers are exploring immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a medical term defined as the "treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response". Immunotherapies designed to elicit or amplify an immune response are classified as activation immunotherapies. While immunotherapies that reduce or suppress are...

, which harnesses the power of the immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 to fight cancer.

Tumor research
Hutchinson Center works with oncologists, surgeons, and other clinical specialists at UW Medicine and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center to find better therapies for treating tumors.

Fundamental research
By studying the basic properties of healthy cells and comparing them to abnormal cells, Hutchinson Center scientists identify the genes and proteins that contribute to disease.

Childhood cancer
The Center’s work with pediatric patients has led to the development and evaluation of new and improved treatments for childhood brain tumors, leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

, sarcoma
A sarcoma is a cancer that arises from transformed cells in one of a number of tissues that develop from embryonic mesoderm. Thus, sarcomas include tumors of bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, vascular, and hematopoietic tissues...

 and other cancers.

Leukemia/lymphoma and blood-related diseases
The Hutchinson Center is internationally known for pioneering bone-marrow transplantation for leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

, lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer in the lymphatic cells of the immune system. Typically, lymphomas present as a solid tumor of lymphoid cells. Treatment might involve chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and/or bone marrow transplantation, and can be curable depending on the histology, type, and stage...

, and other blood disorders. Center scientists continue to advance and refine this area of life-saving research. An example is the “mini-transplant,” a modified transplant procedure that requires no hospitalization, has few side effects, and shows promise for kidney and other solid-tumor cancers.

Prevention research
The Hutchinson Center houses the world’s oldest and largest cancer-prevention research program, which explores the genetic and environmental factors that influence a person’s likelihood of developing cancer.

Health initiatives
The Center has launched a global health initiative to speed the development and delivery of preventive measures for the world's most urgent public-health problems.

Clinical Research Division

The mission of the Clinical Research Division is to improve treatments and find new cures for cancer and other human diseases. This division aims to extend its specialty in bone marrow transplantation, pioneered at the Hutchinson Center by E. Donnall Thomas
E. Donnall Thomas
Dr. Edward Donnall Thomas is an American physician, professor emeritus at the University of Washington, and director emeritus of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In 1990 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Joseph E. Murray for the...

, to treat and cure a range of cancers, blood disorders, and autoimmune disease
Autoimmune disease
Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells. The immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks it. This may be restricted to...

The division houses seven programs--Clinical Transplant
Transplant may refer to:*Transplants , an American band,** Transplants , self-titled album.*Transplanting a plant from one location to another*Organ transplant, moving an organ from one body to anotherTransplant may also be:...

 Research, Complications of Cancer Treatment, HumanImmunogenetics
Immunogenetics is the branch of medical research that explores the relationship between the immune system and genetics.Autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, are complex genetic traits which result from defects in the immune system. Identification of genes defining the immune defects may...

, Immunology
Immunology is a broad branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms. It deals with the physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and diseases; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders ; the...

, Molecular Pharmacology
Molecular Pharmacology
Molecular Pharmacology is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics since 1965. All issues are available online. It is currently indexed in MEDLINE, Scopus, CrossFire Beilstein, and other databases.-History:Molecular...

, Pediatric Oncology
Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with cancer...

and Transplantation Biology--in addition to The Institute For Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

. The Division Director is currently Frederick Appelbaum, M.D.

Basic Sciences Division

The Basic Sciences Division was formed in 1981 and currently contains 27 laboratories. Its scientists research many areas of biology, including structural biology
Structural biology
Structural biology is a branch of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules, especially proteins and nucleic acids, how they acquire the structures they have, and how alterations in their structures affect their function...

, molecular biology
Molecular biology
Molecular biology is the branch of biology that deals with the molecular basis of biological activity. This field overlaps with other areas of biology and chemistry, particularly genetics and biochemistry...

, cell biology
Cell biology
Cell biology is a scientific discipline that studies cells – their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level...

, developmental biology
Developmental biology
Developmental biology is the study of the process by which organisms grow and develop. Modern developmental biology studies the genetic control of cell growth, differentiation and "morphogenesis", which is the process that gives rise to tissues, organs and anatomy.- Related fields of study...

 and evolutionary biology, in an attempt to understand the causes of human disease and to develop disease treatments. Notable scientists currently working within this division include Nobel laureate Linda Buck, Ph.D, and MacArthur Fellow Mark Roth
Mark Roth (scientist)
Mark Roth is an American biochemist, and director of the Roth Lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He is a professor at the University of Washington....

, Ph.D. The current Division Director is Jonathan Cooper, Ph.D.

Human Biology Division

Founded in 1998, the Human Biology Division focuses on interdisciplinary research in basic, clinical, and population sciences to address cancer and many other human diseases. About 22 faculty members make up this division, predominantly based in the Hutchinson Building on the main Robert W. Day Campus. Human Biology is currently directed by Denise Galloway, Ph.D. (Interim director) following the retirement of former division director, Barbara Trask, Ph.D. in May 2011.

Public Health Sciences

The focus of the Public Health Sciences (PHS) division is to identify links between diet
Diet, in relation to food, might mean:*Diet , the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group*Dieting, the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake*Diet food, foods that aid in dieting...

, lifestyle
Lifestyle is a term to describe the way a person lives, which was originally coined by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler in 1929. The current broader sense of the word dates from 1961. A set of behaviors, and the senses of self and belonging which these behaviors represent, are collectively used...

, environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

, or genetic
Genetic may refer to:*Genetics, in biology, the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms**Genetic, used as an adjective, refers to heredity of traits**Gene, a unit of heredity in the genome of an organism...

 factors to cancer and other diseases that ultimately will lead to treatment strategies for reducing premature death and illness. The faculty is composed of public health researchers that use statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

, epidemiology
Epidemiology is the study of health-event, health-characteristic, or health-determinant patterns in a population. It is the cornerstone method of public health research, and helps inform policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive...

, or disease preventionstudies to investigate large population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

s. PHS gained status as a Division in 1983 following a number of years as the Program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, which was established in 1975. It is currently home to six programs: Biostatistics and Biomathematics, Cancer Biology, Cancer Prevention, Computational Biology, Epidemiology, and Molecular Diagnostics. PHS currently operates under the Directorship of Ross Prentice, Ph.D.

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

Formed in 2010, The Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division (VIDD) is the newest Division of the Hutchinson Center. It evolved from the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute (VIDI), which was established in 2007. VIDD's mission is to develop treatments and prevention strategies that counter infectious disease
Infectious disease
Infectious diseases, also known as communicable diseases, contagious diseases or transmissible diseases comprise clinically evident illness resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host organism...

s throughout the world. Investigators working in VIDD research the human immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

, pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s, and vaccine
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe or its toxins...

s via statistical, clinical, and laboratory science. It is composed of three programs—Population Sciences, including the Statistical Center for HIV and AIDS Research and Prevention (SCHARP),Infectious Disease Sciences, and Immunology and Vaccine Development—and employs approximately 27 faculty
Faculty may refer to:In education:* Faculty , a division of a university* Faculty , academic staff of a university or collegeIn other uses:...

 members. VIDD also hosts the HIV Vaccine Trials Network
HIV Vaccine Trials Network
The HIV Vaccine Trials Network is a non-profit organization which connects physicians and scientists with activists and community educators for the purpose of conducting clinical trials seeking a safe and effective HIV vaccine. Collaboratively, research professionals and laypeople review...

 (HVTN) and operates under the leadership of two Co-Director
Director (business)
Director refers to a rank in management. A director is a person who leads, or supervises a certain area of a company, a program, or a project. Usually companies, which use this title commonly have large numbers of people with the title of director with different categories...

s, M. Juliana McElrath, M.D., Ph.D. and Steve Self, Ph.D.


In September 2011 researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reported the development of a new blood test for lung cancer proteins. The cancer test is sensitive enough to detect the presence of markers which suggest tumor activity before other tools such as a CT scan.

Clinical ethics controversy

In 2001, the Seattle Times published a controversial series of articles alleging that Hutchinson Center investigators (including the Center's co-founder Dr. E. Donnall Thomas) were conducting unethical clinical studies on cancer patients. The paper alleged that in two cancer studies conducted in the 1980s and early 1990s, patients were not informed about all the risks of the study, nor about the study doctors' financial interest in study outcome. The paper also alleged that this financial interest may have contributed to the doctors' failure to halt the studies despite evidence that patients were dying sooner and more frequently than expected.

The Center's leadership strongly contested the accuracy of the Seattle Times articles, maintaining that the researchers involved did not stand to gain financially and that patients were fully briefed. Still, the Center formed a panel of independent experts to review its existing research practices, leading to adoption of "one of the nation's toughest conflict-of-interest rules."

The Times series prompted families of several patients to sue the Center. The Center fought those allegations in court and largely prevailed. All claims of fraud and conflict of interest were dismissed by the judge prior to trial. The jury found that all of the patients were properly advised of the risks of the treatments they received, and that the Center was not negligent in the deaths of four patients. The jury awarded approximately $1 million to the family of a fifth patient whose bone marrow was damaged during laboratory processing. These events unfolded at a time of national debate over how medical research is conducted and regulated, and other institutions have also opted to strengthen their research policies as a result.


The Hutchinson Center is among the top National Cancer Institute
National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health , which is one of 11 agencies that are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NCI coordinates the U.S...

-funded academic and research institutes and is ranked first in National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health are an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and are the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Its science and engineering counterpart is the National Science Foundation...

funding among all U.S. independent research institutions.

External links