Human Biology Division - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Human Biology Division

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Integrating fundamental, applied and translational scientists to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer and other diseases.

Human Biology researchers come together to form a multidisciplinary team that is influenced by individual advances. Their diverse expertise include molecular and cell biology, genomics, genetics, virology, infectious disease, computational biology, pathology and clinical research. Grounded in high-quality basic science, the research performed in Human Biology blends fundamental, applied, and translational research performed in model organisms and in vitro systems.


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The American Lung Association awarded Dr. Taran Gujral a $200,000 research grant. Dr. Gujral focuses on diagnosing gene mutations in cancer patients to inform effective treatment plans. He plans to use the two year grant to develop more precise, individualized treatment options for lung cancer.
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Nearly all cervical cancers are caused by high-risk alpha-papillomavirus (αHPV) infections. The tumors become highly unstable as they progress and it is thought that the instability is caused by two HPV oncogenes that disrupt DNA repair. The mechanism by which these oncogenes accomplish this is still unknown. Dr. Nick Wallace from the Galloway Lab and colleagues demonstrated multiple mechanisms by which these oncogenes disrupt DNA repair.
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Dr. Adam Geballe has been named a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Fellows are elected by their peers for their scientifically or social distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.
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Glioblastoma is a deadly cancer that is largely unresponsive to treatment. There are a variety of immune cells that, in some cases, have been shown to promote tumor growth. Targeting these cells could serve as a potential therapy, however these immune and tumor cells are poorly understood. Authors from the Holland lab and colleagues from the University of Washington and Emory University examine one molecule that is thought to play a role in these interactions.
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Together Fred Hutch, UW Medicine and SCCA are working to develop the most precise treatment options for patients with solid tumor cancers. The primary goal is to translate laboratory sciences into the most precise treatment options for patients with solid tumor cancers.
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Hearing loss is an irreversible side effect of treatment with a subset of antibiotics called aminoglycoside antibiotics (AGAs). There currently aren’t any FDA approved agents to protect from any type of hearing loss. Dr. Julian Simon and collaborators from the University of Washington evaluated and optimized candidates for an orally-active compound to protect against AGA-induced hearing loss.
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A virus can only enter a host cell if specific receptors are present on the host cell surface. In order for HIV-1 to bind to a host cell, glycoprotein CD4 must be present. John Nahabedian and his colleagues in the Overbaugh lab are working to better understand the functions of these receptors.
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Dr. Denise Galloway was awarded one of the National Cancer Institute’s 2017 Outstanding Investigators Awards. This award recognizes scientific leaders who are making significant advances in research. Galloway is also the first scientist from Fred Hutch to receive this award.
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Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) is a common bacterium that causes an infection in the stomach and in some cases can lead to ulcers and cancer. The Salama Lab has identified a second factor that contributes to the inflammatory response after the body has detected an infection.
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The vast majority of prostate carcinomas are highly dependent on androgen receptor (AR) signaling. Because of this, the first line therapies for prostate cancers are AR pathway inhibitors. The widespread use of AR-repressing chemotherapies has impacted AR status of prostate metastases. In a recent paper, Dr. Pete Nelson and first author Dr. Eric Bluemn, as well as colleagues from centers around the country, show that AR-directed therapies are resulting the emergence of prostate metastases devoid of AR signaling and discover an effective pathway to target in these AR-null cancers.
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