Stephanie J. Lee, MD, MPH

Research Director, Long-Term Follow-Up
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
“What’s most important in life is often what you can do for other people.”
— Dr. Lee
Why do you conduct research?

When I was a volunteer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center — before I went to medical school — I met a pair of siblings who helped me decide to go into stem cell transplantation. A girl had donated her bone marrow to her older brother. And while the transplant had cured his leukemia, it was now attacking his body, the result of a condition called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). At the time, there was little that could be done to stop it, and it was just so horribly sad. I kept thinking that this shouldn’t happen; a cure shouldn’t make people so sick. That boy’s experience has never been far from my mind. Today, I lead a national research network that seeks to better understand GVHD and create more effective therapies for it.

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. 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. 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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What do you enjoy about working at SCCA and its partner organizations?

One of the best parts of my job is participating in team science, working with colleagues here and from all over the world, to improve the lives of stem cell transplant recipients. This is not a competitive atmosphere; rather, we support and push each other to do better. I’m really fortunate to be part of such a collaborative environment. I’m also thankful that I can divide my time between doing research and seeing patients. The relationships I’ve forged with patients and their family members over the years have been a very meaningful part of my life.

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.

Provider background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes

I specialize in providing blood and bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes and other diseases of the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, I serve as the research director of the Long-Term Follow-Up Program, which provides monitoring and care for patients who have had stem cell transplants.

Through research, I focus on improving transplant outcomes, supporting survivorship and mitigating the impact of chronic GVHD, a life-threatening condition that affects approximately four in 10 transplant recipients. My research has been instrumental in identifying genetic criteria that can better match donors with patients who need transplants, lowering their risk of developing complications like GVHD. In 2018, I was honored to receive the David and Patricia Giuliani/Oliver Press Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. In addition to patient care and research, I am also active in leadership, serving as president-elect of the American Society of Hematology.

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. 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 Washington
Medical Degree
Stanford University
Residency
Stanford University Medical Center, Internal Medicine
Fellowship
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Hematology-Oncology
Board Certification
Hematology, 1996, 2006, 2016, American Board of Internal Medicine
Other
MPH, Harvard School of Public Health
Languages
English

Stories

ASH President Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH shares key insights
ASH President Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH shares key insights

SCCA is proud that our own Stephanie Lee, MD, MPH served as the 2020 president of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Dr. Lee is a highly regarded expert in graft-versus-host disease, as well as blood and bone marrow diseases. We asked Dr. Lee about her time as president of ASH and what she sees as the direction of oncology care in the future.

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:
NCT04710576
A Study of Axatilimab at 3 Different Doses in Patients With Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease (cGVHD) (AGAVE-201)
Complete title
AGAVE-201, A Phase 2, Open-label, Randomized, Multicenter Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety and Tolerability of Axatilimab at 3 Different Doses in Patients with Recurrent or Refractory Active Chronic Graft Versus Host Disease who have Received at least 2 Lines of Systemic Therapy
Study ID:
NCT04572815
Ustekinumab for the Prevention of Acute Graft Versus Host Disease After Unrelated Donor Hematopoietic Cell Transplant
Complete title
Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Phase II Trial Examining Ustekinumab for Prevention of Graft vs. Host Disease after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation

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.
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.