Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (logo).png
Type Nonprofit organization
Headquarters Seattle
Leader Mark Groudine, M.D., Ph.D.
Budget US$430,000,000[1]

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), (established in 1975, in Seattle, Washington) is one of the world’s leading cancer research institutes.[citation needed] Its interdisciplinary scientists research the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer and other diseases in the laboratory and at patient bedside in the United States and other countries.

The Center's mission statement is "the elimination of cancer and related diseases as causes of human suffering and death".[2]

Center researchers pioneered bone-marrow transplantation for leukemia 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.[3][better source needed]


The Center grew out of the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation, founded in 1956 by Dr. William B. Hutchinson. The Foundation was dedicated to the study of heart surgery, cancer, and diseases of the endocrine system. In 1964, Dr. Hutchinson's brother Fred Hutchinson, who had been a baseball player for the Seattle Rainiers and Detroit Tigers and later managed the Rainiers, the Tigers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds, died of lung cancer. The next year, Dr. William 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.[4]

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, a patient-care facility run in collaboration with the University of Washington and Seattle Children's. In 2010, Dr. Lawrence Corey was appointed as the 4th President and Director of the Center following the retirement of Dr. Lee Hartwell.[5]

Arnold Library[edit]

The Arnold Library at FHCRC was founded in 1975. It specializes in biochemistry, biology, biostatistics, epidemiology, genetics, hematology, immunology, medicine, molecular biology, oncology, pathology, pharmacology, public health, radiology, surgery, and virology.[6]

Nobel Prize recipients[edit]

The Hutchinson Center employs three recipients of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine:

Research initiatives[edit]

Campus as seen from the Space Needle
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.[citation needed]
Hutchinson Center researchers are exploring immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer.[citation needed]
Tumor research
Hutchinson Center works with oncologists, surgeons, and other clinical specialists at UW Medicine [1] and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center [2] to find better therapies for treating tumors.[citation needed]
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.[citation needed]
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, sarcoma and other cancers.[citation needed]
Leukemia/lymphoma and blood-related diseases
The Hutchinson Center is internationally known for pioneering bone-marrow transplantation for leukemia, lymphoma, 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.[citation needed]
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.[citation needed]
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.[citation needed]


The Hutchinson Center is made up of five scientific divisions:

Clinical Research[edit]

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, to treat and cure a range of cancers, blood disorders, and autoimmune diseases. The division houses seven programs--Clinical Transplant Research, Complications of Cancer Treatment, HumanImmunogenetics, Immunology, Molecular Pharmacology, Pediatric Oncology, and Transplantation Biology—in addition to The Institute For Prostate Cancer Research. The current Acting Division Director is currently Oliver Press, M.D. Ph.D. [3]

Basic Sciences[edit]

The Basic Sciences Division was formed in 1981 and currently contains 27 laboratories. Its scientists research many areas of biology, including structural biology, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, computational biology, 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, Ph.D. The current Division Director is Jonathan Cooper, Ph.D.[4]

Human Biology[edit]

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.[5]

Public Health Sciences[edit]

The focus of the Public Health Sciences (PHS) division is to identify links between diet, lifestyle, environment, or genetic 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, epidemiology, or disease preventionstudies to investigate large populations. 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 five programs: Biostatistics and Biomathematics, Translational Research Program, Cancer Prevention, Epidemiology, and Computational Biology. Computational biology is a cross-divisional program housed administratively in the PHS division but includes faculty with primary appointments and laboratories in each of the Centers Divisions. PHS currently operates under the Directorship of Garnet Anderson, Ph.D, who replaced Dr. Ross Prentice, the former director who served in the position for nearly 25 years. [6]

Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division[edit]

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 diseases throughout the world. Investigators working in VIDD research the human immune system, pathogens, and vaccines 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 members. VIDD also hosts the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and operates under the leadership of two Co-Directors, M. Juliana McElrath, M.D., Ph.D. and Steve Self, Ph.D.[7]


In 2000, the center partnered with the British Columbia Cancer Agency to create the Chinese Women's Health Project that provides culturally competent outreach programs to increase cervical cancer screening rates among this population.[10]

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.[11]

Clinical ethics controversy[edit]

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.[12]

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."[13]

The Times series prompted families of several patients to sue the Center.[citation needed] The Center fought those allegations in court and largely prevailed.[citation needed] All claims of fraud and conflict of interest were dismissed by the judge prior to trial.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] The jury awarded approximately $1 million to the family of a fifth patient whose bone marrow was damaged during laboratory processing.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]


The Hutchinson Center is among the top National Cancer Institute-funded academic and research institutes and is ranked first in National Institutes of Health funding among all U.S. independent research institutions.[citation needed] The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center also receives funding through licensing and partnership agreements via pharmaceutical companies such as Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline directly and also indirectly through the center's membership at The National Comprehensive Cancer Network.[14][15][16][17]


  1. ^ "Financial Summary 2012". 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mission Statement". Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  3. ^ "Leukemia and Lymphoma Research". Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  4. ^ "Hutchinson Center History". Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  5. ^ "Lawrence Corey, infectious disease expert, new Hutchinson Center President". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 2010-07-29. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  6. ^ American Library Directory 2 (64th ed.). Information Today, Inc. 2011–2012. pp. 2568–2576. ISBN 978-1-57387-411-3. 
  7. ^ "Medicine 2004". Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  8. ^ "Medicine 2001". Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  9. ^ "Medicine 1990". Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  10. ^ "Culturally Competent Outreach Programs Increase Cervical Cancer Screening Among Chinese Women". Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  11. ^ Berman, Jessica (13 September 2011). "Scientists Work on Blood Test for Early Lung Cancer Detection". Voice of America. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Uninformed Consent". Seattle Times. 2001. 
  13. ^ Doughton, Sandi (2009-08-04). "Hutch leader Lee Hartwell guided center's ride to top, will retire next June". Seattle Times. 
  14. ^
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  16. ^
  17. ^

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