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Cancer-free Seattle mayor praises Fred Hutch for research

(Fred Hutch)

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who was diagnosed with melanoma, toured Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on Tuesday to learn about advancements in cancer research.

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“It’s so important to show the research underway into treatments and prevention, because they really do raise hope,” Durkan told Fred Hutch. “For me, one of the untold stories is the role Fred Hutch and other institutions in Seattle play in designing the treatments of the future. The level of discovery here is astonishing.”

Durkan, who lost her mother and oldest brother to cancer, had surgery in January to remove melanoma. She now describes herself as cancer-free. Durkan said she’s grateful to live in a city with a cancer care center, for health insurance, and that she discovered her cancer in early stages.

Doctors briefed the mayor on their latest work in immunotherapy. Researcher Sylvia Lee pointed out to Durkan that a lot of their research relied on melanoma patients involved in clinical trials. Dr. Jennifer Adair discussed with Durkan the advancements in gene therapy and explained a mobile “gene-therapy-in-a-box.”

“I can’t wait to see what’s next,” Durkan told the team of researchers.

The mayor pledged to double down on the city’s commitment to building a culture that supports successful research. She also promised to do what she can to attract and retain talent in Seattle.

Durkan requested Fred Hutch consider her Seattle Promise College Tuition Program for a potential internship program partnership.

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