Office of the President

July 13, 2021

New partnership has potential to transform cancer care in the PNW

Ana Mari Cauce

A cancer diagnosis is one of the scariest things that can happen to a person — cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States and for most of medical history, people diagnosed with it faced grim odds. But how we treat cancer is changing rapidly, with new advances happening all the time. Diagnoses that once offered little hope have become treatable, and as our knowledge and discovery grow, we can even contemplate a future in which people with cancer may expect to live long, healthy, productive lives. But for that to happen, we will need the best minds working in close coordination, with the greatest efficiency, to achieve cutting edge results for cancer patients now and in the future.

For that reason, I’m incredibly pleased that UW Medicine, Fred Hutch and Seattle Children’s, which have partnered so successfully on the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) for the past 20 years, are exploring a new way to bring our organizations together for the benefit of patients. This new partnership structure would accelerate the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in both children and adults.

As announced today, the evolution of SCCA being envisioned would merge it and Fred Hutch to form the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (FHCC), an independent, private, not-for-profit organization. FHCC would be UW Medicine’s cancer program and a clinically integrated part of UW Medicine, serving as its adult oncology program and combining the strengths in patient care and research of these two powerhouse organizations. The new structure would also consolidate pediatric oncology and pediatric bone marrow transplant programs at Seattle Children’s, where UW Medicine will continue its longstanding partnership.

Seeking out new ways to collaborate, share and advance knowledge with peak efficiency for the good of patients is at the heart of the UW’s Population Health Initiative. And the partnership we’re exploring in cancer research and care presents incredible potential to improve outcomes for patients and perhaps even change the course of medical history.

A cancer diagnosis will always be unwelcome news, but as we explore this partnership, we are working together toward a future with fewer diagnoses, more remissions and longer, healthier, happier lives for patients.