AIDS-Associated Infections and Malignancies Core


Cancer is increasingly recognized as an important complication of HIV infection, with ~10% of HIV-infected persons expected to develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. For many HIV-associated malignancies (HIVAM), few good strategies for prevention or treatment exist. Seattle has developed an extraordinary community of researchers in both cancer and HIV, and over the last five years the AIDS-Associated Infections and Malignancies (AAIMs) Scientific Working Group has been highly successful in bringing together these research communities to address HIVAM. We are now expanding the activities of the AAIMs group to become a Core in the UW/Fred Hutch CFAR, with three Specific Aims: 1)  Enable studies of HIVAM through the development and deployment of assays for the molecular detection and quantification of viral oncogens; 2) Facilitate the diagnosis of HIVAM, as well as detailed studies of HIVAM pathogenesis, in CFAR-affiliated HIV cohorts through the provision of a suite of molecular and immunohistochemical tumor assays; 3)  Disseminate data instruments to accurately identify and characterize cancer endpoints among HIV-infected persons participating in CFAR-affiliated research studies. We have assembled a group of international experts from the Fred Hutch and the University of Washington to serve on the Core’s Steering Committee, including the services offered by the highly successful Molecular Diagnostics Laboratories in Seattle and Uganda, an expanded core pathology diagnostic services offered by the Hutchinson Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and the expertise in data collection of the Statistical Center for HIV/AIDS Research & Prevention.


HHV8 Real Time Quantitative PCR on all types of sample: Plasma, Serum, Saliva, Swabs, Whole Blood, etc.

Epstein Barr Virus may be detected in a wide variety of clinical specimens including saliva, plasma, serum, oral swabs, and other bodily fluids.


The CFAR-AAIMS Core operates not only in the context of the Global Oncology program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, but also at the new UCI/Fred Hutch Cancer Centre facility in Kampala, Uganda. The Core uses nearly 9,000 square feet of Biorepository and Laboratory space, including dedicated space for molecular diagnostics, histopathology, immunology, and clinical chemistry / hematology.

The Biorepository offers specimen processing (standard plasma, serum, and buffy coat separation, PBMC isolation by Ficoll separation, granulocyte isolation, solid tissue formalin fixing, snap-freezing of tissues and cells, and cryopreservation capabilities) and storage in a variety of conditions: -20 Scientific Freezers, -80 Ultra Low Scientific Freezers, Liquid Nitrogen Storage Tanks, and controlled room temperature storage. Alarm systems and local laboratory staff monitor all of our storage equipment continuously.  The Biorepository staff are also able to assist with shipping of samples.

The Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory currently offers high-throughput DNA and RNA extraction, HHV8 Real Time Quantitative PCR and EBV Real Time Quantitative PCR. Additional commercial assays are available by request (e.g. gene expression, SNP Genotyping, and MiRNA Analysis) operated within a TaqMan-based PCR System (Life Technologies 7900, and 7500FAST).

The CFAR-AAIMS Core offers a weekly journal club, biweekly research in progress meeting, monthly clinical conference, quarterly seminar, and annual symposium in HIV-associated cancers to facilitate research in HIV Associated Malignancies. The Core operations in Uganda can offer assistance with recruitment and enrollment of patients with HIV-associated cancers into clinical trials, facilitating histopathologic diagnosis and confirmation of cancer cases, and help with the development and refinement of tools and data instruments to incorporate malignancy research into planned or ongoing HIV research studies.

Capacity building continues for operations of the Histopathology and Immunology Laboratories in Kampala and Uganda. We will provide updates on the development of activities for these labs as the Core’s operations expand.


Corey Casper Director

Judd Walson Co-Director


Postal Mailing Address
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance
P.O. Box 19024
Seattle, WA 98109-1024

Shipping Address (FedEX, UPS, etc.)
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance
M1-B140, 1100 Fairview Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

Corey Casper , M.D., MPH
(206) 667-4600(206) 667-4600

Judd Walson, M.D., MPH
(206) 543-4278(206) 543-4278

Core Manager
James Ferrenberg
(206) 667-7779(206) 667-7779