Sylvia M. Lee, MD
I was fortunate to be raised in a loving family that valued caring for others, and I wanted a career that would allow me to help people. I became a high school science teacher in the Teach for America program and then returned to medical school. I initially planned to focus on internal medicine, but during my oncology rotation, I decided that I wanted to work with cancer patients. I find oncology patients to the most inspiring and rewarding patients I have ever worked with, as they deeply appreciate their loved ones and the value of life.
I will care for you the way I would care for my family, with respect and compassion. My goal is to help you and your loved ones clearly understand your treatment options, providing you with the information and support you need to make informed decisions about your care.
Specialties and clinical expertise: Medical Oncology
I am an expert in tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy, a form of immunotherapy that uses your own immune cells to attack your tumor. I currently lead Fred Hutch’s TIL program, one of only four in the U.S. that offers clinical trials to patients. TILs are a type of T cell that attacks cancer, but tumors can turn off this immune response. We can extract the dormant cells from a piece of tumor, reactivate them in the lab, multiply the cells to the billions in the laboratory and reinfuse them into patients to fight cancer.
I believe that enhancing your own immune system’s natural ability to recognize and attack cancer cells is perhaps the most promising new form of treatment, and many clinical trials are available for you to explore.
We plan to expand T-cell therapy to head and neck cancer, allowing your immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells in your body. I am committed to extending the benefits of this new immunotherapy to as many patients as possible.
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.
Your care team
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.