The project is seeded by a record-breaking $35 million donation from the family of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is launching a new initiative focused on finding ways to prevent and cure cancers caused by viruses and bacteria.
About one in five cancers worldwide — including cervical, liver and stomach cancers — are triggered by microbial infections. The proportion is much higher in some parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, where one out of every three cancer cases is the result of some type of infection.
The new Pathogen-Associated Malignancies Integrated Research Center will be led by Hutch microbiologist Denise Galloway, whose work contributed to the development of the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer.
“We had a great hit with HPV,” Galloway said in a statement. “I would like a great hit with something else that would eliminate more of the suffering caused by cancer.”
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Seed funding for the center came from a $35 million donation from the family of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The gift was the largest in the Hutch’s history.
Officials wouldn’t say how much of the money is being devoted to the new center, but it will help recruit three leading researchers and set up their labs in Seattle, Galloway said.
The Seattle center will work closely with researchers in Uganda, where the Hutch helped establish a state-of-the-art cancer center that also focused on tumors caused by infections.