Elizabeth F. Krakow, MD, MSc
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.
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.
Specialty: Medical Oncology
Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation
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.
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.
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.
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