Hans-Peter Kiem, MD, FACP

Medical Director, Stem Cell and Gene Therapy Program; Associate Head of Transplantation Biology; Associate Head of Heme Malignancy Program Cancer Consortium
Fred Hutch
Professor, Division of Pathology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutch
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“If we can correct defective stem cells, we can cure diseases.”
— Dr. Kiem
What intrigues you as a physician and researcher?

I’ve always been fascinated by the science of bone marrow transplantation — the fact that stem cells could take hold in someone and aid the functioning of their blood cells for a lifetime. During medical school in Germany, I often heard about Dr. E. Donnall Thomas, who won a Nobel Prize for developing the bone marrow transplant, and other people at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In 1992, I was fortunate enough to start a fellowship there; I got to meet all those people I’d been hearing about, and it was an amazing experience! Studying with Dr. Rainer Storb, I wanted to better understand stem cells so we could fix the diseases that affect them — and that’s been the center of my research ever since.

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. Stem cell A cell from which other types of cells develop. For example, blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells.
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Is there a patient who has had a deep impact on you?

Charlie Burgess is a man I will never forget. One Fourth of July, he was celebrating with family and friends when they noticed that he seemed disoriented. At the ER, he found out he had a glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. His prognosis was poor, but he really wanted to fight, and not just for himself, but for his family: his wife and his daughter, who was still in high school. Charlie became the first patient on our gene therapy trial for glioblastomas. He responded really well, surviving for several years. He got to see his daughter graduate from college, which was huge. Throughout the remainder of his life, we stayed close. It was so rewarding to be able to help him.

Gene The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. Prognosis A statement about the likely outcome of a disease in a patient.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Cellular immunotherapy

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, gene therapy, graft-versus-host disease, cellular immunotherapy

I am a medical oncologist who specializes in stem cell and bone marrow transplantation for patients with blood cancers. In 2018, I was awarded the Stephanus Family Endowed Chair for Cell and Gene Therapy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I have extensive experience training students and postdoctoral fellows, having mentored more than 50 trainees over the past 20 years.

My research investigates how stem cells can be extracted from patients, manipulated at a genetic level and then delivered back to them to treat diseases ranging from cancers to genetic conditions like sickle cell disease to infections like HIV. Currently, I am sponsoring four clinical gene therapy studies; one of these studies is the first of its kind to use this stem-cell approach to fix a gene involved with Fanconi anemia, a rare blood disorder that often leads to leukemia and other cancers. In addition to caring for patients and conducting research, I also serve as chair of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy’s Stem Cell Committee and the American Society of Hematology’s Stem Cell Committee.

Anemia A condition in which the number of red blood cells is below normal. 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. Gene The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring. Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a specific protein. Graft-versus-host disease A condition that occurs when donated stem cells or bone marrow (the graft) see the healthy tissues in the patient’s body (the host) as foreign and attack them. Hematopoietic stem cell An immature cell that can develop into all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the blood and the bone marrow. An immature cell that can develop into all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Hematopoietic stem cells are found in the blood and the bone marrow. Also called blood stem cell. 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. Sickle cell disease An inherited disease in which the red blood cells have an abnormal crescent shape, block small blood vessels and do not last as long as normal red blood cells. An inherited disease in which the red blood cells have an abnormal crescent shape, block small blood vessels and do not last as long as normal red blood cells. Sickle cell disease is caused by a mutation (change) in one of the genes for hemoglobin, which is the substance inside red blood cells that binds to oxygen and carries it from the lungs to the tissues. It is most common in people of West and Central African descent. Also called sickle cell anemia. Stem cell A cell from which other types of cells develop. For example, blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells. Stem cell A cell from which other types of cells develop. For example, blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
University of Ulm
Residency
Vanderbilt University
Fellowship
Stanford University; University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Research Center
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 1997; Internal Medicine, 1993, American Board of Internal Medicine
Languages
English
German

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.

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.