Edus H. Warren, MD, PhD

Physician
Fred Hutch
Professor, Division of Medical Oncology; Adjunct Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Physician
UW Medicine
Professor, Program in Immunology, Clinical Research Division; Professor, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division; Program Head, Global Oncology Program
Fred Hutch
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“It’s important for patients to know that we’re always with them from start to finish, no matter the expected outcome.”
— Dr. Warren
What drew you to the field of oncology?

When I was an intern at Massachusetts General Hospital, I took care of a patient who had developed a very aggressive form of HIV-associated lymphoma. This was back in the 1980s there was no treatment yet for HIV and nothing we could do to stop the cancer. Through taking care of him, I learned about the challenges of oncology, but the experience also reinforced that this was the specialty for me. A big part of an oncologist’s job is to help people adjust to their diagnosis, to cure them when possible and to help them live the rest of their days nobly and comfortably when we can’t.

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. 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.
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had a significant impact on you.

As an attending physician on the bone marrow transplant service, I once met a patient with leukemia who had been referred to us for a transplant. She was in her early 40s and supposedly in remission, so her prognosis was reasonably good. However, during routine pre-transplant tests, we discovered that her situation was a lot tougher than we had initially thought. It turned out that she was not actually in remission, and further tests revealed more and more complications. Each day, I met with her and her family to deliver the bad news. Despite all the setbacks, I told them that we were going to do everything we could to see her through the transplant, because it was still her best chance. The odds were stacked against her, but she made it through, and 10 years later, she is still doing well. Not every situation turns out that way, but when they do, it makes it all worthwhile. It’s important for patients to know that we’re always with them from start to finish, no matter the expected outcome.

Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Prognosis A statement about the likely outcome of a disease in a patient. Remission A decrease in, or disappearance of, signs and symptoms of cancer. A decrease in, or disappearance of, signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some (but not all) signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Hematologic malignancies

Lymphomas

I am a board-certified medical oncologist who has practiced at Fred Hutch since 1993. For more than 20 years, I provided care for patients undergoing bone marrow transplants. Now I specialize in working with patients who have recurrent or refractory (resistant to treatment) lymphomas.

At Fred Hutch, I lead a lab that is focused on cancer immunology. We study the interactions between cancer and the immune system on a cellular and molecular level. For example, one area of interest is understanding how a new class of therapeutic drugs, known as immune checkpoint inhibitors, helps eliminate cancer cells. I also lead Fred Hutch’s Global Oncology program, which is dedicated to reducing the burdens of cancer worldwide. As part of this role, I oversee international collaborations including the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI)-Fred Hutch Cancer Research Centre in Kampala, Uganda. The research program at UCI aims to improve the care and prevention of cancers caused by infectious diseases.

Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. 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. Refractory In medicine, refractory disease is a disease or condition that does not respond to treatment.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
Harvard University
Residency
Massachusetts General Hospital, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
University of Washington, Medical Oncology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 1997, 2018; Internal Medicine, 1994, American Board of Internal Medicine
PhD
Harvard University
Languages
English
Spanish
German
French
Awards

Research

Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch doctors. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch 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.

Press

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

Your care team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care 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 doctor and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your doctor and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

Fred Hutch 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.