Cameron J. Turtle, MBBS, PhD, FRACP, FRCPA
Sometimes after blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma have been successfully treated, the disease will suddenly recur. What if we could teach the immune system to remember these cancers, so they could never come back? In 2005, I left Australia to pursue the answer to this question, joining Dr. Stan Riddell’s lab at Fred Hutch. My research focuses on a type of white blood cell called a central memory T cell. These T cells not only kill invaders like viruses, but they remain on guard inside the body in case that virus comes back, providing immunity against it. We hope to get these T cells to not only attack tumors but also provide lifelong protection, so that patients remain cancer-free.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a blood cancer, you’ll find that there are a multitude of treatment options, from chemotherapy to stem cell transplants to targeted drug therapy and much more, depending on your specific disease type. Deciding which treatments to try is not an easy choice and must be based on more than just your health. I aim to incorporate your wishes and goals for therapy with the latest science to design an appropriate care strategy. I share with you what clinical trials might be suitable, as well as the strides we’re making in using the body’s immune system to overcome cancer. My goal is to help you get well and get on with your life.
Specialty: Medical Oncology
I am a hematologist-oncologist who specializes in treating blood diseases with stem cell transplantation. As an attending physician at SCCA and UW Medical Center, I care for patients on the hematopoietic cell transplant service and the immunotherapy service.
At Fred Hutch, I lead a lab that focuses on understanding the characteristics of specific subsets of T cells (immune cells), so we can assess their potential for treating blood cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia. Through genetic engineering, we modify T cells so that they carry a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), which directs the T cells to target and destroy cancer cells. I have designed and led several clinical trials testing CAR-modified T-cell therapies. My lab also studies ways to boost the immune system’s recovery after treatments like stem cell transplants and chemotherapy.
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.
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
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.