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Merkel Cell Carcinoma Research in the Nghiem Lab




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Please join the Nghiem Lab as we lead Merkel cell carcinoma research at Fred Hutch and UW Medicine

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive skin cancer that is three times more likely to spread throughout the body than melanoma. Approximately 40% of patients will experience a return of MCC after the initial tumor has been removed.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is an independent, nonprofit organization that also serves as the cancer program for UW Medicine. Fred Hutch is proud to raise funds that fuel the adult oncology program on behalf of both Fred Hutch and UW Medicine.

At UW Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, a globally recognized team led by Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD, is improving the odds for these patients. Dr. Nghiem and his colleagues have:

  • Led clinical trials that have increased the chance of lasting benefit from 5% (with chemotherapy) to 50% (with immune therapy) for patients with metastatic MCC. These studies led to the only two FDA approvals of a drug for this cancer. These treatments have transformed care for thousands of MCC patients.
  • Begun developing a vaccine to prevent MCC from recurring. The first clinical test in the world began at Fred Hutch in July 2022 and will teach us more about how to train our immune system to destroy cancer.
  • Identified new combination treatments that have the potential to further improve survival in Merkel cell carcinoma, with additional clinical trials to start in the next one to two years.

Learn more about Merkel cell carcinoma and other skin cancer research at Fred Hutch.

 Why Philanthropy:

  • Donor dollars can help Dr. Nghiem’s MCC team accelerate advances and increase their capacity to explore promising new ideas. 
  • Your investment gives our scientists the agility to maintain momentum in their research, which can sometimes be constrained by other funding sources.
  • Your dollars can educate the next generation of Merkel cell carcinoma researchers, including Nghiem Lab clinical research fellows, who are supported entirely through philanthropy. 

We’re driven by the urgency of our patients, the hope of our community, and our passion for discovery to pursue scientific breakthroughs and healthier lives for every person in every community. Your support is critical to fueling that pursuit. 

Please donate today. Thank you!

After you make the donation online, if you would like to make a donation in honor or memory of someone, reach out to Fred Hutch Philanthropy at or at 206.667.4399. Please include the name and mailing address of the honoree or next of kin in your message.