Dr. Scott is a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN).
Patient education is key so that the patient can guide the physician to meet his or her needs.
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN)
- Assistant Member, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch
- Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, University of Washington
- Director of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
- MD: University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, School of Medicine, 1991-1996
- Residency: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Internal Medicine, 1996-1999
- Fellowship: University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Medical Oncology, 1999-2000
- Fred Hutch, Seattle, WA, 2001-2004
Once the Patient, Now the Physician
For many people who decide to become doctors, it’s a personal preference due to an affinity for math or science, or the desire to help others. For Bart Lee Scott, MD, it was even more personal than that. His mother was diagnosed with breast cancer while he was in high school.
“After watching her go through what she did, and seeing the doctors work with her, I knew that I wanted to become a doctor, too,” Dr. Scott says.
He began medical school at the University of South Alabama School of Medicine. After completing his first year, his mother passed away. In a cruel twist of fate during his second year, Dr. Scott was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma used to carry a high mortality rate. The treatment once used, called MOPP – Mechlorethamine (nitrogen mustard), Oncovin (vincristine), and Procarbazine, and Prednisone – worked on the cancer but had a high rate of secondary malignancies. Because of clinical trials, better treatments have been developed, leading to better outcomes. “I have first-hand experience about the benefits of people participating in clinical trials,” he says.
During his residency training, Dr. Scott decided to specialize in leukemia. “I was able to connect with those patients,” Dr. Scott says. “I even remember my very first leukemia patient during my first year of residency. He was 19 years old and presented with frequent bleeding and bruising after playing basketball.”
Dr. Scott is developing three protocols for myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). “The goal is to improve the care of patients with MDS and leukemia,” Dr. Scott says.
Clinical Research Proponent
The term myelodysplastic syndrome describes diseases of the bone marrow that are generally associated with anemia (with or without low platelet and white blood cell counts) and characterized by a tendency to develop into acute myeloid leukemia. MDS is sometimes referred to as “preleukemia.” In the United States, between 13,000 and 20,000 patients are diagnosed with MDS every year. The average age of patients is 65-70, but the disease can occur at any age. In the vast majority of patients, we do not know the cause of the disease, though MDS can develop in patients previously treated with chemotherapy or radiation.
Because of clinical trials, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has recently approved three new MDS drugs. “Things are moving very rapidly,” Dr. Scott says. “Patient groups are pushing for research, and that’s good.”
Dr. Scott works to educate patients about the benefits of participating in clinic trials. “I think there is the misconception that they won’t get the best treatment, when in fact, patients get far superior treatment compared to those who are not participating in a trial. There is very close follow-up when people are in a study. There are no placebos. Study patients are getting the very latest treatments available, and they’re helping others in the future while they’re also helping themselves.”
When he isn’t seeing patients, Dr. Scott can be found reading up on history or other countries – he’s an avid traveler. His library contains a comprehensive collection of travel books and comic books. When he isn’t traveling, Dr. Scott often plays tennis on the weekends.“I love the summer in Seattle,” he says.