Marco Mielcarek, MD, PhD

Medical Director, Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Professor, Division of Medical Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“Research is the backbone for improving patient care.”
— Dr. Mielcarek
What do you love about your job?

I arrived in Seattle in 1994 for a research fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. My plan was to stay for two years and then return to my home in Germany. As you can see, I’m still here. I learned a lot during my fellowship — it was a good collaboration — but I didn’t want the kind of career where I was restricted to the lab. I wanted the privilege of taking care of patients, too. So I decided to stay in the U.S. to pursue those two passions. At SCCA, I get the best of both worlds — working closely with patients and conducting research to make treatment for blood cancers more tolerable.

Mielcarek-secondary.jpg
How do you care for patients?

I believe there are two key ingredients to providing excellent care. The first is tailoring treatment according to your needs and philosophy. An approach that is a good fit for someone else may not be ideal for you, and I never want to make assumptions about what you prefer. The second ingredient is incorporating up-to-date research so that you’re receiving the very best treatment that medicine has to offer, which can sometimes be clinical trials. Participating in trials helps us increase our understanding of diseases and achieve better cure rates.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation

Blood cancers

I am a board-certified oncologist with more than 20 years of experience caring for patients who receive stem cell transplants for blood cancers. I also serve as medical director of SCCA’s Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. My research is aimed at the prevention and treatment of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) — a potentially dangerous complication that can develop post-transplant where immune system cells attack healthy tissues and organs. For example, one study I led found that patients with GVHD could be effectively treated with lower doses of prednisone (a steroid that can have negative side effects) than most physicians had been using. Currently, my colleagues and I are testing whether treating stem cell donors with statins (drugs widely used to lower cholesterol) can prevent GVHD in transplant recipients.

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. 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. Prednisone A drug used to reduce inflammation and lower the body’s immune response. It is also used alone or with other drugs to prevent or treat many conditions. A drug used to reduce inflammation and lower the body’s immune response. It is used with other drugs to treat leukemia, lymphoma and mycosis fungoides (a type of skin lymphoma). It is also used alone or with other drugs to prevent or treat many other conditions. These include conditions related to cancer and its treatment, such as anemia (a low level of red blood cells) and allergic reactions. Prednisone is a type of therapeutic glucocorticoid. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores. Stem cell A cell from which other types of cells develop. For example, blood cells develop from blood-forming stem cells. Steroid A type of drug used to relieve swelling and inflammation. Some steroid drugs may also have antitumor effects.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
Freie Universität, Berlin
Residency
Freie Universität Berlin, Internal Medicine; University of Washington, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Medical Oncology
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2003, 2013, American Board of Internal Medicine
Other
PhD, Freie Universität Berlin
Languages
English
German

Stories

Innovative approaches to lymphoma: clinical trials including CAR T-cell therapy, transplant, bispecific antibodies, novel kinase and checkpoint inhibitors
Innovative approaches to lymphoma: clinical trials including CAR T-cell therapy, transplant, bispecific antibodies, novel kinase and checkpoint inhibitors

As survival rates for lymphoma are improving, the first therapy is typically the most effective and important. But patients may need more than one therapy. SCCA has one of largest and most comprehensive multidisciplinary lymphoma teams in the nation, and the largest team in the Northwest.

Research

Clinical trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by SCCA doctors. Many of these trials at SCCA 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 SCCA physicians conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other physicians and selected for publication to the United States National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world. See scientific papers this SCCA provider has written.

Press

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

Your care team

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team 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.
Albert C.  Yeh, MD
Albert C. Yeh, MD
Physician
Medical Oncology
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurse (RN)
Your nurse manages your care alongside your physician and assists with care procedures and treatments.
Patient care coordinator
Patient care coordinator
Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your physician and serves as your scheduler.

Insurance

SCCA 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.