Top Doctor Top Doctor
The Top Doctor award is a peer-nominated award for providers who give exceptional care.

Michael L. Linenberger, MD

Medical Director, Apheresis and Cellular Therapy
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Professor, Division of Hematology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Medical Oncology, Hematology
“I can’t meet your needs without first hearing your story.”
— Dr. Linenberger
What sparked your interest in medicine?

I have always been a science nerd — I loved microscopy as a kid — but it wasn’t until I worked as an orderly in the intensive care unit of a hospital that I knew I wanted to pursue medicine. For two summers while I was in college, I changed bedpans, gave sponge baths, answered call lights, stocked supplies and cleaned. It was intimate work. I got a vivid glimpse of the personal side of medicine, how important it is to provide comfort and help patients maintain their dignity. There was no question that I wanted to continue down that path.

What is your approach to care?

I strive to offer compassionate care by forming a partnership with you and your other health care providers, and that partnership is based on good communication. You can rely on me to provide clinical expertise and the latest information about therapies and clinical trials. I rely on you to tell me how your diagnosis is affecting your life and how you and your caregivers are coping. I want to know what doubts are keeping you up at night, what you don’t understand and what you want to get out of treatment. By pooling our knowledge, we learn from each other, and we can come up with a care plan that best supports your health and well-being.

Provider background

Specialties: Medical Oncology, Hematology

Area of clinical practice

Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Hematologic Malignancies, Non-Malignant Hematology

Blood cancers and benign blood disorders

I am a board-certified hematologist who specializes in treating a variety of blood cancers and blood disorders. At SCCA, I serve as the medical director of the National Marrow Program Collection Center and the medical director of apheresis and cellular therapy. In these roles, I set policies and procedures to ensure the safe collection of stem cells and other cellular material for transplantation.

Throughout my career, I have also directed and participated in multiple studies that investigate donor safety and adverse events related to stem cell infusions. Other research interests include using therapeutic apheresis (the process of gathering stem cells) to address graft-versus-host disease, a life-threatening condition that can develop after a transplant, and applying cellular therapy to stem cell transplantation. In addition to conducting research and caring for patients, I also serve as the director of the UW School of Medicine Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program.

Apheresis A procedure in which blood is taken out of the body, part of the blood is removed, and the rest of the blood is infused back into the body. Benign Not cancer. Benign tumors may grow larger but do not spread to other parts of the body. Benign Not cancer. Benign tumors may grow larger but do not spread to other parts of the body. 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. Hematologist A physician who specializes in diseases of the blood and blood-forming tissues. Infusion An injection of medications or fluids into a vein over a period of time. 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
Undergraduate Degree
University of Kansas
Medical Degree
University of Kansas
Rhode Island Hospital (Brown University), Internal Medicine
University of Washington, Hematology
Board Certification
Hematology, 1988; Internal Medicine,1985, American Board of Internal Medicine


“Dr. Linenberger is a wonderful hematologist and colleague. He has an encyclopedic wealth of knowledge about hematological conditions and displays endless compassion toward his patients. He is also a great mentor and teacher to colleagues, fellows and medical students.”
— Laura Connelly-Smith, MBBCh, DM


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.


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.


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

Dr. Michael Linenberger honored for contributions to apheresis medicine

Dr. Michael Linenberger, a professor in the Hutch's Clinical Research Division and the medical director of Apheresis and Cellular Therapy at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, was honored for his career contributions to apheresis medicine with the Presidential Award from American Society for Apheresis.

Perspectives on 2019’s New Hematology Drug Approvals

SCCA’s Michael Linenberger, MD, MMSc, spoke on the role of givosiran for the treatment of acute hepatic porphyria (AHP), a rare disease that affects approximately 5 to 10 people per 100,000 in the U.S.

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.
Katie R. Russell, ARNP
Katie R. Russell, ARNP
Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
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.


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.

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