Your hard work and commitment inspires
We would like to introduce you to two new projects that are enabled — and accelerated — thanks to support such as yours. These projects were recently kickstarted and have already met success:
• Dr. Adam Geballe is pursuing a breakthrough idea to detect viruses that can cause cancer; and
• Dr. Jonathan Bricker is creating a smartphone app that puts science into the pockets of those at high risk of a deadly cancer.
Spying on viruses that can cause cancer
A previous breakthrough at Fred Hutch found that cancer cells can release tiny molecules called microRNAs into the blood, betraying secrets from previously undetectable tumors. Building on this work, Dr. Adam Geballe hopes to discover whether viruses — including ones that cause cancer — also announce their presence with similar molecules.
Starting a collaboration with other Fred Hutch scientists, Dr. Geballe is searching the blood for microRNAs released by certain viruses, such as the cancer-causing Epstein-Barr virus. Spying on these viral molecules may allow us to predict, prevent and cure infections and learn why some remain relatively harmless. In recent laboratory experiments, his team has shown that their methods can detect a key Epstein-Barr molecule. They are now preparing to use this new tool to look at samples from patients affected by the potentially cancer-causing virus.
Their new study epitomizes Fred Hutch’s unique ability to identify and pursue opportunities that could dramatically advance cancer research. Support like yours is indispensable in this effort, enabling a collaboration that would likely have never started without the investment.
Putting lifesaving science into the pockets of those at high risk of cancer
Smoking remains the number one preventable cause of cancer in the United States, despite countless intervention programs. Embracing a modern approach, Dr. Jonathan Bricker is using private support such as yours to develop a smartphone app that delivers an effective, scientifically developed smoking cessation method directly to those who need it.
His method, called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, shows double the quit rate of traditional smoking interventions by helping smokers accept, but not act upon, the urge to smoke. Dr. Bricker sees mobile devices, always within arm’s reach, as the ideal conduit to bring his science directly to the people he is trying to help.
Without the initial investment, the promising lifesaving idea would likely still be unfunded. But thanks to partners like you, his team has been moving quickly. The scientists have created the app, tested its feasibility and — ahead of schedule — have begun recruiting for a randomized scientific study of approximately 160 participants. Dr. Bricker’s first-of-its-kind program will form the core of a large National Cancer Institute grant application to conduct a full-scale trial. Support like yours means that this process will take months instead of years — assuming it got off the ground at all.
The timely effort may not only help save some of the 444,000 U.S. adults killed each year by smoking-related diseases but — with nearly 100 million Americans owning smartphones — serve as a paradigm for other scientists and humanitarians to directly engage the people they serve. And support like yours is making it happen.
These projects represent just two of the newest and most promising strategies in fighting and preventing cancer and related diseases. Again, we thank you for participating in a one-of-a-kind event dedicated to our shared goal of eradicating cancer.