More than two-thirds of people with an advanced form of a rare skin cancer are on track to survive at least two years after starting an immunotherapy drug on a landmark clinical trial, researchers reported Wednesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. That’s a profound shift for this deadly cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma, or MCC. Just a few years ago, patients with…
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Q&A: A New Focus on Small Cell Lung Cancer

About 15 percent of lung tumors are small cell lung cancer. Treatment for this aggressive and deadly malignancy has remained nearly unchanged for decades. Recently, however, immunotherapy drugs have modestly extended patient survival. But researchers are trying to do more. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center small cell lung cancer expert Dr. David MacPherson is working to understand the biology of the disease…
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ISCRM Labs Collaborate to Grow Heart Tissue In Vitro

Heart failure is the leading cause of death in the world. In the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of people succumb to the disease every year, while the costs of care and lost productivity drain more than $200 billion from the economy. Recent breakthroughs in stem cell research offer hope for new treatments that could help patients regrow muscle…
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Aided by Stem Cells, ISCRM Researchers Identify a Suspect in the Case of Infertility

Of all the mysteries surrounding the beginning of human life, one question has drawn particular interest from researchers at the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM). Simply put, for women who are unable to get pregnant, what is happening at the cellular level that is preventing life from taking hold? Finding an answer may bring joy to millions…
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Viewing images of diseased cells on a computer screen means limited detail and restricted angles, prohibiting researchers from fully analyzing specimens. So researchers from Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI)—a Seattle-based research organization—are taking a different approach. For more than a year, BRI researchers have used virtual reality (VR) tools to conduct detailed experiments about autoimmune and immune system…
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Advances in stem cell research offer hope for treatments that could help patients regrow heart muscle tissue after heart attacks, a key to achieving more complete recovery. Scientists today report success in creating functional blood vessels in vitro for hearts of rats that had sustained a heart attack. The journal Nature Communications published the paper, whose lead authors are Ying Zheng and Charles Murry of the UW Medicine Institute…
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Experimental gene therapy cassettes for Duchenne muscular dystrophy have been modified to deliver better performance.  The cassettes, which carry the therapy into muscle cells, contain newer versions of a miniaturized treatment gene. The micro-dystrophin, as the treatment gene is called, has been restructured to enhance its functionality. The revamped versions were developed and tested at UW Medicine labs in animal…
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In a quiet Bothell business park far from booming South Lake Union, players in the Northwest’s “other” tech sector are coping with growing pains of their own. At Fujifilm SonoSite, a manufacturer of portable ultrasound devices, demand is growing so rapidly that it recently decided to add a 10-person weekend shift to its assembly line. Yet that modest objective proved…
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How a Phone Call Helped Shape the Field of Bone Marrow Transplant

It was August 1972, and Dr. George McDonald was mystified. Just two months into his fellowship, the young physician was fielding consultation requests for patients with gastrointestinal and liver problems. But the phone call from Dr. Don Thomas was different. The future Nobel Prize winner, whom he’d never met, had mentioned bone marrow transplantation and a sick patient and something called “graft-vs.-host disease.”…
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Studies of human monoclonal antibodies isolated from survivors of coronavirus-induced severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS) are unveiling surprising immune defense tactics against fatal viruses. Atomic and molecular information about the workings of the highly potent antibodies may provide insights to prevent these serious and sometimes deadly lung infections. Currently, no vaccines or specific treatments are…
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