Fred Hutch says breakthrough studies in jeopardy

by: David Ham Updated:

Seattle - The world-renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center says because of the federal budget crisis, some of its breakthrough treatments may be put on hold.

"There are several areas of cancer research that are no longer happening because of sequestration," said Dr. Larry Corey, president of the Hutch.

Across the country, the National Institutes of Health cut $1.5 billion in funding for research.

At the Hutch, it will take $18 million out of a $275 million budget.

"They're delaying clinical trials. We're seeing delays in novel ways of screening and developing new compounds."

Among some of the clinical trials impacted are those to treat some forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

Another example: Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem will need to cut study enrollment by more than 50 percent for a brain cancer (glioblastoma) clinical trial that is using stem cell transplantation to enable patients to tolerate more and higher doses of chemotherapy.

"It's really disappointing for me especially for the fact that having a mother and a grandfather pass way from cancer," said Sean Ryan.

Corey says the crisis won't stop the research but it will definitely slow it down.

While the Hutch hopes federal funding will be restored soon, in the meantime the nonprofit plans to focus on private fundraising.

"We cope with reduced funding and we look at the difficulties in seeing each year the pace of research will stop and slow down," said Corey.