Dr. Ramesh Rengan is the Medical Director at SCCA Proton Therapy Center. He is internationally known for his work in treating lung cancer and melanoma. He specifically interested in the integration of novel radiation approaches with immune therapies in the treatment of cancer.
My philosophy is fairly simple—the patients come first. I try to spend time getting to know each patient from their initial visit through their entire journey through the treatment process. Each patient has distinct mental and emotional needs and I try to do my best to tailor my approach to suit those needs. That can only come from spending time and truly listening to the patient. Although, I may have greater medical knowledge about their disease, they have a far better understanding of their physical and emotional needs. In order to be successful in caring for the patient, a partnership must be forged between the oncologist and the patient, with each contributing to the development of a treatment plan that speaks to all of the needs of the patient.
- Development of clinical and translational (bench-to-bedside) initiatives designed to improve clinical outcomes in lung cancer and in melanoma.
- Understanding of the biology of lung cancer tumors in order to make radiation treatment more effective.
- Radiation treatment for melanoma and lung cancer patients, including expertise in proton therapy.
- Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine
- Medical Director, SCCA Proton Therapy Center
- Radiation Oncologist, University of Washington Medical Center
- Medical Degree: University of Michigan Medical School
- Doctoral Degree: University of Michigan Medical School
- Residency: Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Ramesh Rengan, MD, PhD, became a doctor because of the patients. “I have a passion for patient care and I believe there is no other profession that is as fulfilling as the privilege of being entrusted with the health of another individual. This is the driving force behind my decision to become a doctor.”
Providing care for the cancer patient represents the true essence of what it means to be a physician for Dr. Rengan. “For me, radiation oncology sits at the nexus of patient care, tumor biology, and advanced technology. It is only through the integration of these disciplines that one can provide state-of-the art treatment to the cancer patient. That means that each and every day brings new challenges and opportunities for advancement. What’s not to love?”
Dr. Rengan’s areas of research involve the development of clinical and translational (bench-to-bedside) initiatives designed to improve clinical outcomes in lung cancer and melanoma patients. His focus in lung cancer is “the exploitation of our understanding of the biology of the tumor in order to make radiation treatment more effective. Radiation is a potent stimulator of the immune system. When that potential is targeted properly at the tumor, radiation treatment can make the tumor function as a vaccine against itself.”
His most recent research focus is centered on harnessing this potential of radiation treatment for melanoma and lung cancer patients.
“We have seen an explosion in our understanding of the biology of cancer itself over the past decade,” he says. “As a field, we are moving away from ‘one-size fits all’ treatments to personalized medicine, whereby each treatment is individualized to the biology of the tumor and ideally of the patient. This revolution of ‘biologically directed’ anti-cancer treatment is already a reality for a number of malignancies, including leukemia and lymphoma. In my lifetime, I would like to see this approach integrated across all solid tumors, including lung cancer and melanoma.”
Outside of work, Dr. Rengan enjoys traveling and visiting other cultures, running, and spending time outdoors.