Sylvia M. Lee, MD
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
University of Washington School of Medicine
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Thoracic, head and neck, skin, renal
Why do you practice 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 offer clinical trials to patients. TILs are a type of T cell that attack cancer, but tumors are able to shut off this immune response before it can eradicate the disease. We extract these dormant cells from a piece of tumor, reactivate them in the lab, multiply those cells to the billions in the laboratory and reinfuse them into patients.
As a doctor who is also a researcher, I’m on the forefront of where treatment for cancer treatment is headed. I lead a team developing TIL therapy for lung cancer. We plan to expand T-cell therapy to head and neck cancer, allowing you to utilize your own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells in your body. With lasers, we pull out the T cells that will work best in fighting your cancer. This type of next-generation immunology provides a sense of hope to patients and doctors alike, and I’m committed to extending its benefits to as many patients as possible.
What is your approach to treatment?
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
University of Washington, Division of General Internal Medicine
University of Washington, Division of Hematology & Oncology
Medical Oncology, 2011, American Board of Internal Medicine
Internship, University of Washington, Division of General Internal Medicine