David G. Maloney, MD, PhD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Bone marrow transplantation, lymphoma, cellular immunotherapy
It’s not enough to treat cancer — we want to rev up your immune system to cure it.”
Why do you conduct research?
When I was a student at Stanford University in the 1980s, I was part of a team that made an amazing discovery. We created a protein called a monoclonal antibody that targeted cancer cells without harming healthy ones. At the time, there were a lot of skeptics — most people thought that antibody research wasn’t worthwhile. But we persevered, and now monoclonal antibodies are an important part of therapy for a variety of cancers. That breakthrough made me hungry for more. What else could I discover about the immune system? Could we train it to go after tumors the same way it attacks viruses? Does it hold the key for curing cancer, once and for all? These are the questions that have driven my work.
Specialties and clinical expertise
The branch of medicine a provider practices and their areas of focus
As the medical director of the Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic at SCCA, I treat patients with lymphoid cancers, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma. My expertise spans the use of antibodies (proteins in the immune system that fight invaders), vaccines and bone marrow transplants. In the 1990s, I led the development of the drug rituximab, the first antibody-based cancer treatment, and I was also part of the team that created the mini-transplant, a less intense form of the conventional stem cell transplant.
Today, my research is focused on developing new immunotherapies where a patient’s own T cells (immune cells) are modified with a molecule called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). This receptor directs a patient’s immune system to attack tumors. Known as CAR T-cell therapy, this approach has been remarkably effective in early-phase trials, even with very advanced cancers that resist other treatments.
How do you approach cancer treatment?
A treatment plan isn’t something that we devise in one short discussion. It’s an in-depth conversation that may stretch across multiple visits. We’ll consider factors such as your health, your age, your disease, your personal philosophy and what the latest research has to offer. Treatments are rapidly evolving, and I enjoy sharing these advances with you so that you can make the best decisions about your care. Whatever you choose, I’m dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome.
Stanford University School of Medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Internal Medicine
Stanford University Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Internal Medicine, 1988; Medical Oncology 2019, American Board of Internal Medicine