Rafael Santana-Davila, MD

Medical Director, Infusion and Pharmacy Services; Attending Physician
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
Associate Professor, Medicine and Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine
Physician
UW Medicine
Associate Professor, Clinical Research Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Specialty:
Medical Oncology
“My patients teach me life lessons that make me a better person.”
— Dr. Santana-Davila
What do you love about your job?

Originally from Mexico City, I was drawn to my career in medicine because of two things: the inspiration and influence of my father — an accomplished physician himself — and my interest in the science of the human body. I developed a fascination with trying to understand why cancer develops. As an oncologist, I have the privilege of helping patients go through one of the most difficult phases of their lives. They teach me life lessons every single day. I’m indebted to them for helping me focus on the joys of life.

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.
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What is your approach to treatment?

My goal is to provide you and your family the most up-to-date, clear information about your disease, prognosis and treatment options, including the latest in clinical trials. Then we can work together to make decisions that are compatible with your beliefs and values. I believe it is my responsibility to provide compassionate, state-of-the-art care within a multidisciplinary team. Because I want to continue seeing advances in therapeutic options for my patients, I’m dedicated to ongoing research and next-generation immunology treatments.

Prognosis A statement about the likely outcome of a disease in a patient.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Head and neck cancers, thoracic cancers

Lung, head and neck, thyroid cancers

I am a medical oncologist who specializes in treating patients with lung and head and neck cancers. In the last decade, there’s been significant progress in the way we treat these cancers. Exciting new therapies have proven to be effective. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much work to do — and that’s why I’m committed to ongoing research.

My interests include harnessing the immune system in treating virus-associated cancers and designing and implementing clinical trials to establish new, life-saving treatments. I’m also interested in studying how patients in the general population — those who do not have access to cancer centers — are treated in order to figure out how to best bring the most recent advances in care to these individuals. My published papers explore a variety of topics, such as treating cancers in elderly and obese patients, combining immunotherapies and treating small-cell and non-small cell lung cancers.

Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. 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. Thoracic Having to do with the chest.

Diseases treated

Education, experience and certifications
Medical Degree
Universidad Anahuac
Residency
University of Minnesota Medical School, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
Mayo Clinic
Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2010; Hematology, 2010, American Board of Internal Medicine
Other
Teaching Appointment, Medical College of Wisconsin
Languages
English
Spanish

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.

Study ID:
NCT05191797
Bomedemstat and Maintenance Immunotherapy for Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer
Complete title
A Phase I/II Study of Bomedemstat Combined with Maintenance Immunotherapy for Patients with Newly Diagnosed Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer (Es-Sclc)
Study ID:
NCT04881045
Study to Test the Safety and Tolerability of PF-07257876 in Participants With Selected Advanced Tumors.
Complete title
A PHASE 1 DOSE ESCALATION AND EXPANSION STUDY EVALUATING THE SAFETY, TOLERABILITY, PHARMACOKINETICS, PHARMACODYNAMICS, AND ANTITUMOR ACTIVITY OF PF 07257876 IN PATIENTS WITH ADVANCED OR METASTATIC TUMORS
Study ID:
NCT04669899
Study of JTX 8064, as Monotherapy and in Combination With a PD-1 Inhibitor, in Adult Subjects With Advanced Refractory Solid Tumors
Complete title
Phase 1 First-in-Human (FIH) Study of Leukocyte Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor B2 (LILRB2) Inhibitor Monoclonal Antibody (mAb) JTX-8064, as Monotherapy and in Combination with a Programmed Cell Death Receptor-1 (PD-1) Inhibitor, in Adult Subjects with Advanced Refractory Solid Tumor Malignancies

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.

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.
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.

For providers