Edus H. Warren, MD, PhD
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.
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.
Specialty: Medical Oncology
I am a board-certified medical oncologist who has practiced at SCCA and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 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.
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