Thank you!

  Dr. Kristin Anderson

Dr. Kristin Anderson
Fred Hutch file photo

Our Climb community is proof that when passion and purpose converge, we can reach commanding heights. Thanks to your big dreams and generous hearts, the Climb to Fight Cancer has now raised more than $10 million for lifesaving research at Fred Hutch. You are fueling leading-edge research that is giving more families more time together.

Accelerating immunotherapy

Dr. Kristin Anderson knows firsthand the life-changing difference research makes in patients’ lives. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28 and credits targeted therapy with saving her life. 

“Someone did a lot of research to come up with the drug that got rid of my cancer,” Dr. Anderson says. “Part of the reason that I wanted to go into cancer therapy was so I could pay it forward and do that for someone else.”

Now a postdoctoral fellow in the immunotherapy lab of Dr. Phil Greenberg, Dr. Anderson is developing new treatments to help clinicians improve outcomes for ovarian cancer patients. Ovarian cancer affects one in 75 U.S. women. It is the deadliest gynecologic malignancy, with fewer than half of ovarian cancer patients surviving five years after diagnosis, primarily because it tends to be diagnosed in later stages due to its lack of symptoms.

Dr. Anderson and her team have developed a mouse model for ovarian cancer that mimics the human disease. The model shows researchers how the cancer spreads to other parts of the body and how the tumor microenvironment, the noncancerous cells and molecules in and around the tumor, suppresses an immune response.  

The team’s studies indicated that the tumor microenvironment in these mice was shutting down the immune system in three distinct ways. When the researchers blocked all three pathways and introduced a revved-up T cell designed to target mesothelin — a protein that is overproduced in certain solid tumors, including ovarian cancer — they saw positive results. Because mesothelin is also highly produced in pancreatic and certain lung cancers — in some 60 to 90 percent of patients — Dr. Anderson’s research has broad implications.

 

Team Kili

Taking a break from her research, Dr. Kristin Anderson (first row, second from left, kneeling) hiked Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, with the Climb to Fight Cancer in July 2019.
Climb to Fight Cancer file photo

Your support fuels cures

Risk-takers and visionaries like you are helping Fred Hutch expand the boundaries of science. Whether you donated to a climber or joined an expedition and fundraised for Fred Hutch, your generosity drives the bold research that Dr. Anderson and all of our extraordinary scientists are pushing forward.

Because of your support, we are using the most sophisticated technologies to gain new insights into cancer and the immune system. With you by our side, we’re fueling connections between data scientists, immunotherapy researchers, and clinicians — and, ultimately, kick-starting the next generation of lifesaving discoveries. Cures start at Fred Hutch because of you. Thank you!