Jason W. Chien, MD, MS
Dr. Jason Chien is a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic. He is also a Clinical Research Assistant Member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an assistant professor in the University of Washington School of Medicine Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.
Dr. Chien has two major clinical interests. He specializes in the care of lung problems that occur among patients who receive bone marrow transplants. In particular, he is an expert in the management of noninfectious pulmonary complications, the most common of which are hematopoietic stem cell transplant related airflow obstruction, otherwise known as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), and bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP). In addition, Dr. Chien also is also interested in the prevention of tobacco related diseases, in particular, lung cancer.
Although these two clinical areas may seem to be quite different, Dr. Chien is able to unify them in his research, which is focused on identifying genetic risk factors for lung related diseases and developing statistical models that predict the risk of developing a specific outcome. For bone marrow transplant patients, knowing their risk for a particular outcome after transplant, such as BOS, may help guide their clinical care. Furthermore, identifying these genetic risk factors may provide additional insight into the potential causes of these diseases. “In my laboratory, we use clinical, molecular, and genetic approaches to refine clinical definitions of these diseases and search for genetic markers that may predispose an individual to developing these diseases.”
For lung cancer, the problem of finding individuals at risk is more challenging, and in a way more fundamental. Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer in the U.S.; more people die of lung cancer each year than the next 3 cancer killers combined. We already know the number one risk factor for lung cancer is tobacco smoking, and that the risk for lung cancer remains even after a smoker quits. Unfortunately, the sheer number of current (25 percent of U.S. population) and former smokers (also 25 percent of U.S. population) in the US, as well as the long exposure required for development of lung cancer, makes it difficult to identify biomarkers for predicting lung cancer risk.
In addition, while much of the prevention efforts have focused on getting current smokers to quit, little have been done to help former smokers, those who have successfully overcome the nicotine addiction, to address all of the issues related to tobacco related diseases that persist even after quitting. “These were the main motivations for opening the Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic."
This clinic is dedicated to conducting an individualized evaluation of each current and former smokers health, getting current smokers to quit, and comprehensively evaluating each current and former smoker who are suspected of having lung cancer or at high risk for lung cancer. “In addition, this clinic serves as an interface between the community and research dedicated to identifying biomarkers that can help detect lung cancer earlier." Patients attending this clinic can participate in leading-edge lung cancer research that will ultimately benefit the entire community of former smokers that remain at risk for lung cancer.
Because the outcome of lung cancer is so poor, the future of lung cancer research needs to focus on prevention and early detection. If we can stop smoking, we can stop 90 percent of lung cancer in the US. However, we need to face the fact that not only will the tobacco companies continue to work against us, but former smokers will remain at risk for lung cancer for many decades to come. The only way to improve their outcome significantly is to try to detect these cancers earlier. There are many investigations currently focused on finding these biomarkers by looking for protein and genetic changes in the blood that may reveal the early development of lung cancer.
Jason W. Chien, MD, MSDr. Chien is a pulmonary and critical care specialist at SCCA and cares for patients in the Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Clinic.
- Associate Professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Washington
- Assistant Member, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Pulmonary complications after hematopoietic stem cell transplant, with a special focus on pulmonary manifestations of chronic graft versus host disease among long term survivors of transplant. His research interest is in the genetic determinants of the inflammatory response and how this affects lung function.
In addition, Dr. Chien also is also interested in the prevention of tobacco related diseases, in particular, lung cancer.
Education And Training
- New Jersey Medical School, 1994
- Residency: University Hospitals of Cleveland Internal Medicine, 1995-1997
- Fellowships: Case Western Reserve University Infectious Disease, 1997-1999 & University of Washington Pulmonary & Critical Care, 1999-2002