Chaitra S. Ujjani, MD

Physician
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Clinical Associate Professor, Medical Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“Oncology is the epitome of understanding how to practice the art of medicine.”
— Dr. Ujjani
Why do you practice oncology?

At the age of 17, I knew that I was going to be a doctor. I have never once regretted that decision. As an oncologist, I find it satisfying to work with patients to achieve a common goal. The science behind different forms of cancer is also fascinating — I want to know what’s driving them. There’s a creativity to oncology right now, in trying to figure out how to bring new therapies together and how to integrate them with current treatment approaches. I’m invested in trying to understand that so I can improve outcomes for you. It’s this excitement that brings me to work every day.

Oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment, such as treating cancer with radiation. A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer. Some oncologists specialize in a particular type of cancer treatment. For example, a radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
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What do you want patients to know about working with you?

Oncology is an art in the sense that I can’t just look at the data and make a decision about what’s best for you. There are many nuances to consider, not only the biology of your disease but also you as the patient: your personal goals, your living situation, your fitness level and your age, just to name a few. When it comes to blood cancers, there are so many more treatment combinations available than there used to be, which is great, but it also means that the way forward isn’t simple. Together, we take in all of the information and decide on the best approach.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Hematologic malignancies

Lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia

I am a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). These cancers affect white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infection. For more than a decade, I’ve designed and led multi-center clinical trials that test new drug combinations for treating these diseases, with the goals of more precisely targeting cancer while decreasing the intensity of side effects. I’m also interested in immunotherapy, how patients’ own immune cells can be extracted and engineered to attack their cancer. In addition to patient care and research, I am an active member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and I’ve presented my research at the annual conference of the American Society of Hematology.

Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Lymphoma Cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One is Hodgkin lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer. Medical oncologist A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer in adults using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A physician who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer in adults using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, biological therapy and targeted therapy. A medical oncologist is often the main health care provider for someone who has cancer. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate treatment given by other specialists. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Undergraduate Degree
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Medical Degree
University of Alabama School of Medicine
Residency
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
Georgetown University Hospital, Hematology-Oncology
Board Certification
Oncology, 2011; Hematology, 2011, American Board of Internal Medicine
Languages
English
Awards
American Cancer Society Young Investigator Research Grant

Dr. Ujjani received the 2016 American Cancer Society Young Investigator Research Grant to support her clinical trial work testing new drug combinations in the treatment of relapsed follicular lymphoma.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Relentless for a Cure Award

This award honors excellence in patient education and research.

Research

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:
NCT04419519
Assessing Minimal Residual Disease by Next- Generation Sequencing to Minimize Exposure in People With CLL or SLL Who Have Been Treated With Venetoclax
Complete title
Veneto-STOP study: Sequential Assessment of Minimal Residual Disease by Next Generation Sequencing to Optimize Outcomes and Minimize Exposure in Venetoclax-Treated CLL/SLL Patients
Study ID:
NCT03740529
A Study of Oral LOXO-305 in Patients With Previously Treated CLL/SLL or NHL
Complete title
A Phase 1/2 Study of Oral LOXO-305 in Patients with Previously Treated Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia/Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma (CLL/SLL) or Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL)

Publications

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.

Press

SCCA providers are often asked to give their medical expertise for press and news publications. Read articles by or about this SCCA provider.

Are Covid-19 vaccines safe for cancer patients? Here is what cancer experts say

SCCA's Chaitra S. Ujjani, MD, spoke with CNN Health about COVID-19 vaccinations for patients with blood cancers and discussed how SCCA is conducting clinical trials for other cancer types including certain immune system and blood cancers

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.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

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.

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