Paul A. Carpenter, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Pediatric bone marrow transplantation, long-term follow-up
It’s important to listen to patients and families — they bring valuable insight and ideas to the table.”
Tell us about an interaction with a patient that had an impact on you.
There’s a young patient I’ve worked with for a long time who has graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). This complication can develop after a bone marrow transplant when the transplanted cells attack the recipient’s healthy cells, causing serious illness or even death. During one of our appointments, the patient’s mother showed me a research article about an experimental therapy, wondering if it would help. There was a chance it could be beneficial for pediatric patients, so we worked hard to get the therapy, and ultimately her child survived. Other patients in similar condition were also able to benefit from this therapy. It’s important to listen to patients and families — they bring valuable insight and ideas to the table.
I specialize in caring for children and adults who have undergone bone marrow transplantation. I am an attending physician at Seattle Children’s and serve as the clinical director of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA.
My clinical expertise centers on providing long-term follow-up care after a transplant and managing graft-versus-host disease. The focus of my research is developing better treatments for acute and chronic GVHD. I lead clinical trials testing new therapies for this disease, and I also study how to overcome the long-term complications of GVHD treatments. In addition to caring for patients and conducting research, I co-chair the Committee on Practice Guidelines for the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. This committee develops clinical practice guidelines for hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cell transplantation that incorporate state-of-the-art treatments and are based on the latest scientific evidence.
What do you want patients to know about working with you?
My approach to care is based on four key elements: being an attentive listener, empowering patients and families, maintaining open communication and keeping quality of life at the forefront of any treatment decisions. I also try to focus on what we can control versus what we can’t, breaking down large, overwhelming problems into more manageable pieces and setting realistic expectations about milestones and the pace of improvement. For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects about this area of medicine are the long-term relationships I develop with patients and families. It’s rewarding to explain complex health information while also helping people work through difficult decisions about care and treatment.
University of Sydney, Australia,
University of Sydney, Australia
Sydney Children's Hospital, Australia, Pediatrics
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Human Immunogenetics; University of Washington, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
General Pediatrics (non-ABMS)
Internship, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, General Medicine