Elizabeth F. Krakow, MD, MSc

Physician
Fred Hutch
Assistant Professor, Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutch
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“The stakes can be high when choosing cancer treatment. I’m on a mission to help you make better-informed decisions.”
— Dr. Krakow
Has cancer ever touched you personally?

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a teenager. Her doctors treated her like a number, and she felt so helpless as her cancer spread. I’ve always wondered if her situation would have turned out differently if she had received more personalized care. During her treatment, my mother painted a picture that hangs in my office today; in it, beneath swirling colors, the word “HELP” appears. I strive to answer that plea by developing more personalized ways for physicians to approach decision-making around treatment.

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What’s it like to work with you?

I recognize that your illness experience is unique. My goal is to provide care that is both evidence-based and highly tailored to your values, goals and preferences. In our interactions, I emphasize honest, open communication. I also take the time to explain the disease process and your treatment options in a straightforward way, so that you feel equipped to navigate your illness and share in the decision-making. Sometimes there is gold-standard data available (from randomized clinical trials) about which treatment to choose and when — and, more often, there is not. Choosing the right option is a complex process where we discuss the risks and potential benefits as well as the time and logistical issues involved.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Blood cancers

I specialize in providing blood and bone marrow transplants (BMTs) for patients with blood cancers like acute myeloid leukemia and lymphoma. My research focuses on two main areas. The first is developing safer, more effective cellular immunotherapies to treat patients whose cancer has relapsed after BMT. For example, in one trial we use donor T cells (immune cells) that have been genetically modified with receptors to target leukemia. My second area of focus is developing what I call algorithm-informed treatment — using machine-learning methods to help guide decision-making. Many patients with cancer are treated with multiple therapies over long periods of time, but the optimal sequence of these therapies is often unclear. I’m exploring how to use data to devise highly personalized recommendations for treating blood cancers. In 2017, the American Journal of Epidemiology recognized a paper my colleagues and I wrote about algorithm-informed treatment as one of the year’s best in the field.

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. Bone marrow transplant The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Because this treatment destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. 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. Relapse The recurrence (return) of disease after an apparent recovery. T cell A type of white blood cell. T cells are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer. A type of white blood cell. T cells are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer. Also called T lymphocyte and thymocyte.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
McGill Univesity School of Medicine
Residency
Duke University Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
McMaster University, Hematology; University of Montreal, Hematopoietic cell transplantation
Board Certification
Hematology, 2009, 2019; Internal Medicine, 2006, 2016, American Board of Internal Medicine
Other
MSc, McGill University School of Medicine
Languages
English

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.

Study ID:
NCT03326921
HA-1 T TCR T Cell Immunotherapy for the Treating of Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Acute Leukemia After Donor Stem Cell Transplant
Complete title
Phase I Study of Adoptive Immunotherapy with CD8+ and CD4+ Memory T cells Transduced to Express an HA-1-specific T cell Receptor (TCR) for Children and Adults with Recurrent Acute Leukemia after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HCT)

Publications

Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this Fred Hutch provider has written.

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.

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