Top Doctor
The Top Doctor award is a peer-nominated award for providers who give exceptional care.

Ajay K. Gopal, MD

Medical Director of Clinical Research, Hematology, Malignancies/Hematology
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Professor, Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Hematology Oncology
“We are united in the cause of finding your best treatment.”
— Dr. Gopal
Why is research important to you?

Improving patient care is what motivates my scientific research. I want to get results out of the lab as quickly as possible, so all patients have access to the newest treatments. For example, one project I’m working on is improving therapeutic options for older patients with lymphoma. The average age range of a person with this disease is 60 to 65. They represent half of all lymphoma patients, yet many are disqualified from participating in clinical trials due to toxicity issues. This means that these patients don’t always have access to the latest treatments. More research is vital to getting the most effective therapies to this group.

What do you want patients to know about working with you?

Some patients come to my office armed with research they’ve unearthed on the Web about their condition. Others just show up feeling afraid, confused or both. However you are feeling, I will meet you where you are. It’s important for me to understand your disease, but I must also understand you — who you are outside of a person with cancer. I’ll share what the most current research has to say and what the standard care options are. We’ll work together as a team to improve your health and well-being and help you cope with your diagnosis.

Provider background

Specialty: Hematology Oncology


I am a medical oncologist who specializes in lymphomas and other cancers of the blood. I also serve as the director of clinical research for hematology malignancies at SCCA. My research focuses on three main areas. The first is novel targeted therapies for lymphomas, such as radioimmunotherapy for use in stem cell transplants. The second area is low-toxicity therapies such as fenretinide; a synthetic derivative of vitamin A, fenretinide could be helpful for patients who have slow-growing lymphomas. My third area of investigation is curative therapies for older adults with lymphoma. Across these research topics, I have authored more than 100 scientific papers. I have also been a presenter at the annual conference of the American Society of Hematology.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Undergraduate Degree
Duke University
Medical Degree
Emory University
Duke University Medical Center, Internal Medicine
University of Washington, Hematology-Oncology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2000, 2010, American Board of Internal Medicine
Seattle magazine's 2021 Top Doctors award

Dr. Gopal has been recognized as a Top Doctor in this peer-nominated award multiple years in a row.

Seattle Met's 2019 Top Doctors award

Dr. Gopal has been recognized as a Top Doctor in Seattle Met's annual survey multiple years in a row.


“Dr. Gopal is knowledgeable about everything lymphoma. He’s also incredibly giving of his time to physicians in the community who routinely ask him questions about how to manage their own patients.”
— Daniel Martin, MD


Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your doctor can decide if a study is right for you.

Study ID:
Pembrolizumab in Untreated B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoproliferative Diseases
Complete title
Phase II Window Study of Pembrolizumab in Untreated B-cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoproliferative Diseases
Study ID:
Acalabrutinib and Anti-CD19 CAR T-cell Therapy for the Treatment of B-cell Lymphoma
Complete title
Acalabrutinib in Combination with Anti-CD19 Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cells (CART) in B-cell Lymphoma
Study ID:
A Safety and Pharmacokinetic Study of IGM-2323 in Subjects With Relapsed/Refractory Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Complete title
A Phase 1 Open-label, Multicenter Study Evaluating the Safety and Pharmacokinetics of Escalating Doses of IGM-2323 in Subjects with Relapsed/Refractory Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas


Many of our SCCA physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this SCCA provider has written.

Your care team

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.
Kristin A. Province, ARNP
Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
Advanced Practice Provider
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Team coordinator (TC)
Your team coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.


SCCA accepts most national private health insurance plans as well as Medicare. We also accept Medicaid for people from Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. We are working to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial situation, has access to the care they need.

For providers