Pollack Lab

Pollack Lab

Pollack Lab group photo

Our Research

Seth Pollack, M.D., is an Assistant Member in the Clinical Research Division’s Program in Immunology. The Pollack Lab is the only laboratory in the world solely focused on harnessing the power of the immune system to cure sarcoma, a group of cancers that originate in bones and soft tissues. Sarcomas make up approximately 1% of all cancers and there are over 70 different types—some are extremely rare.

As the average survival for patients with advanced sarcoma is only approximately one year, and sarcomas frequently affect children and young adults, many years of life are lost to these cancers, despite their rarity. And, perhaps because of the rarity, advances in sarcoma treatment have trailed far behind other cancers. The Pollack Lab takes a “two-pronged” approach to directing the immune system to fight these diseases: 1) using T cells to specifically target cancer-testis antigens in synovial sarcoma and myxoid/round cell liposarcoma and 2) overcoming immune-inhibitory sarcoma tumor microenvironments.

Dr. Pollack sees sarcoma patients at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), a partnership between the UWFred Hutch and Seattle Children’s Hospital. It is the largest tertiary referral center for sarcoma in the Northwest and is consistently one of the highest enrolling sites for the major national sarcoma clinical trials, including trials focused on rare sarcoma subtypes. Dr. Pollack also oversees the UW/FHCRC Sarcoma Tissue Bank. This resource is one of the largest repositories of sarcoma tumor samples in the world, founded by Dr. Ernest “Chappie” Conrad.

Featured Publications

Clinical Cancer Research 2019

Somaiah N, Block MS, Kim JW, Shapiro GI, Do KT, Hwu P, Eder JP, Jones RL, Lu H, Ter Meulen J, Bohac C, Chen M, Hsu FJ, Gnjatic S, Pollack SM. First-in-Class, First-in-Human Study Evaluating LV305, a Dendritic-Cell Tropic Lentiviral Vector, in Sarcoma and Other Solid Tumors Expressing NY-ESO-1.

Cancer Immunology Research 2019

Zhang S, Kohli K, Black RG, Yao L, Spadinger SM, He Q, Pillarisetty VG, Cranmer LD, Van Tine BA, Yee C, Pierce RH, Riddell SR, Jones RL, Pollack SM. Systemic Interferon-γ Increases MHC Class I Expression and T-cell Infiltration in Cold Tumors: Results of a Phase 0 Clinical Trial.

About the Program in Immunology

Investigators in The Program in Immunology are learning how immune cells respond to disease and how to safely enhance immune responses to better control, cure and potentially prevent cancers and other serious diseases. Nobel Prize-winning work on bone marrow transplantation began in the 1960s at the Fred Hutch, and provided the first definitive example of the immune system’s curative power. Fred Hutch researchers went on to show that donor immune T cells play a major role in successful transplant outcomes. In the 1990s, Program in Immunology investigators proved that antigen-specific T cells can be isolated, expanded in the laboratory and adoptively transferred to patients to augment T cell immunity. Techniques have since been developed to genetically engineer T cells to enhance their survival and their anti-cancer activities. And, studies are now showing how to use other types of immune cells to boost therapeutic immune responses. With our depth and breadth of expertise, we are advancing a detailed understanding of immunological processes and developing revolutionary immunotherapies to fight disease.