Seattle shines in the summer. Sightseers come for good food, pleasant weather and the great outdoors. When the Hornish family arrived in Seattle eight years ago, they were prepared for a short vacation. Then their 6-year-old daughter, Havianna, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Havianna had been feeling unwell as the family drove up from their home in San Diego. When her pallor and fatigue only lingered, Suzanne and her husband, Tom, and their 9-year-old son, Austin, took Havianna to Seattle Children’s Hospital to be evaluated. Once the doctors recognized that the rising first-grader had leukemia, they admitted her straight away.
What they didn’t realize at the beginning of their odyssey was that Seattle is an epicenter of pediatric AML research. Havianna would benefit not only from a bone marrow transplant — a Nobel Prize–winning advance pioneered by Fred Hutch’s Dr. E. Donnall Thomas — but also from a then-new treatment made possible by a unique collection of frozen tissue samples housed at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Uncovering mesothelin’s association with AML also opens up the possibility of discovering new drugs. Meshinchi and his colleagues are among those currently working to create cutting-edge new therapies for children with this marker.
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