Denise Galloway, PhD
Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) is launching a new integrated research center to prevent and find cures for cancers caused by infectious agents. It will be led by Denise Galloway, PhD, a Fred Hutch microbiologist whose research paved the way for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which prevents cervical, throat, and other cancers.
Each year, 14 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer, and up to 20% of those cancers are caused, directly or indirectly, by viruses and other pathogens.— Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD
Fred Hutch has established the new center to leverage its work in cancer immunotherapy and global oncology and apply that expertise to developing preventive measures and treatments for cancers caused directly and indirectly by infectious pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria.
“Each year, 14 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer, and up to 20% of those cancers are caused, directly or indirectly, by viruses and other pathogens,” said Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, President and Director at Fred Hutch. “Our goal is to seize the opportunity we now have to lead the way in eliminating that burden—and to advance cures for all cancers.”
PAM-IRC: First of Its Kind
Called the Pathogen-Associated Malignancies Integrated Research Center, or PAM-IRC, the new center is among the first of its kind to concentrate on cancers related to viruses, bacteria, and other infections. It brings together faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, vaccines, immunotherapy, public health sciences, cancer biology, and more.
The PAM-IRC plans to engage other public and private organizations in a global collaborative effort to reduce the number of cancer cases associated with pathogens. In addition to enhancing the understanding, prevention, and treatment of infection-related cancers, the center’s findings are expected to provide insights into other cancers not associated with pathogens.
Dr. Gilliland called Dr. Galloway “the ideal candidate” to lead the new center, having done pioneering work on HPVs, and more recently on the Merkel cell polyomavirus, in addition to doing important research on other DNA tumor viruses. “We want our new center to interest researchers already here at Fred Hutch and elsewhere in Seattle, as well as attract new talent to come here,” Dr. Galloway said, noting she will be recruiting scientists for at least three new positions. ■