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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 to five times more likely to be deadly than melanoma. Because it’s often overlooked, it poses a serious threat once diagnosed. Approximately 40% of patients will experience a return of MCC after the initial tumor has been treated.

Dr. Paul Nghiem’s research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and UW Medicine is improving the odds for these patients. His team is recognized as global leaders in Merkel cell carcinoma. 

  • Dr. Nghiem’s team 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.
  • Dr. Nghiem’s team has begun developing a vaccine to prevent MCC from recurring. The first clinical test in the world began at Fred Hutch in July 2022. This approach will teach us more about how to train our immune system to destroy cancer.
  • Dr. Nghiem and his team have 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 1-2 years.

 Where We’re Going:

  • Donor dollars can help Dr. Nghiem’s MCC team accelerate advances and increase their capacity to explore promising new ideas. 
  • Your investment can provide much-needed flexibility. Philanthropic funding can ensure that Dr. Nghiem’s MCC team can maintain the momentum of their research across the timelines and constraints of federal 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.