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The brains behind the breakthroughs in cancer and HIV research

November 2, 2012

By Clay Holtzman, Hutchinson Center science writer

A team of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s top scientists—the “brains behind the breakthroughs”— met with Seattle’s business community in early November to explain why business and science working together is a powerful driver for the local economy.

At a breakfast panel discussion hosted by the Puget Sound Business Journal, Hutchinson Center President and Director Dr. Larry Corey discussed how American taxpayers have received a significant return on their investment in the Center’s lifesaving research.

Dr. Larry Corey

Joining Corey were Drs. Linda Buck, Harmit Malik and Jim Olson. Each scientist walked the audience through their work, and how it is benefitting patients as well as other research efforts.

Dr. Linda Buck

The discussion was broad ranging, from the Center’s role in developing bone marrow transplantation and its groundbreaking discoveries through the Women’s Health Initiative, to how the Center’s basic sciences research is building a foundation for all kinds of scientific advances.

Collaboration, innovation and creative freedom are the keys to the Center’s success. “We are more than the sum of our parts,” said Malik in describing the Center’s culture of research collaboration.

Dr. Harmit Singh Malik

Audience members nodded as they heard Olson tell the story of his “tumor paint” research to benefit brain cancer patients, and how he is translating that work into a local startup company called Blaze Bioscience.

Dr. Jim Olson

One audience member, who identified himself as a stem cell transplant survivor, asked how other research centers received funding. Corey explained that a mix of funding sources is critical to a cancer research center, but private donations and public investments at the local and state levels can be a game changer in pursuing innovative science.

“When you give to science, science gives back,” Corey said.

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