"Smart" Cancer Treatment for Kids

This developing therapy could potentially one day eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiation.
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There’s a powerful new weapon in the battle against pediatric cancer, thanks to a new “smart” therapy that could one day eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiation. The therapy harnesses the power of the immune system to recognize and fight cancer.

Here’s how it works: A child’s immune system is reprogrammed to recognize and kill cancer cells. Project leader Dr. Michael Jensen’s approach starts by isolating T lymphocytes—specialized white blood cells that are good at wiping out infections—from a patient’s own blood. Then, recombinant DNA is inserted into the cells, which then instructs those cells to recognize cancer cells and kill them.

The research received a big boost in January, thanks to a $5 million gift from Seattle’s Ben Towne Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, named for a Laurel Heights boy who died in 2008 at age 3 after a battle with cancer. “We have advanced in our work from treating mice to preparing for clinical trials at Seattle Children’s Hospital, thanks in large part to the generous philanthropic support of this community,” says Jensen. The new therapy is pending FDA approval; trials are anticipated to begin this fall.

Seattle Magazine's Top Doctors 2015

Seattle Magazine's Top Doctors 2015

The 459 best physicians in the Puget Sound region as chosen by their peers
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Stories by Sally James, Amelia Apfel, Sheila Cain, Elsy Pawelak Niki Stojnic
For 15 years, we have asked Seattle-area doctors this question: To whom would you send a loved one for medical care?

And every year, more than 1,000 doctors have taken time out of their busy schedules to nominate the peers they trust and admire—initially using paper ballots sent through the mail, and today, via an online survey. While the methods of casting and collecting nominations have changed over time, our controlled, peer-to-peer approach has remained consistent, as has the feedback from our readers that this is the issue they turn to when it is time to make the all-important health care decision of finding a new doctor or seeking a second opinion.

Another constant through the years: one surgeon, who has been voted in the top of his category without fail every year. Learn a little more about what makes him tick, and get a closer look at a few of Seattle’s other outstanding practitioners, including Dr. Michael Corsilles, Dr. Kristine Rinn, Dr. Emily Bradley, Dr. Peter Neligan, Dr. Edward Earl Leonard II, Dr. Hope Wechkin and Dr. Joseph Gruss

As part of our Top Doctors coverage this year, we also decided to celebrate the thriving research community that plays such an important role in the delivery of high-quality health care in this region. So, during the survey, we asked doctors to tell us about local researchers or research projects that promise to have a significant impact on the work they do. We spotlight a few of these exciting developments in this year’s Top Doctors feature. Plus, we meet a science-loving citizen who is part of a growing community of people who aren’t doctors but who are interested in making a very personal contribution to health science.

Also read about how social media affects teens' health, and how stem cell innovations could help the heart heal itself. Find out more on the 100K Wellness Project here.

You may also want to check out this article: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center turns 40.





Find out how we conducted our 2015 Top Doctors Survey.

The List:

Addiction medicine   
Adolescent medicine  
Allergy and immunology  
Anesthesiology  
Autism   
Bariatric medicine and surgery   
Cardiology   
Colon and rectal surgery   
Craniofacial medicine   
Critical care medicine   
Dermatology   
Developmental pediatrics   
Emergency medicine   
Endocrinology/metabolism   
Family medicine   
Fertility   
Gastroenterology   
Genetics   
Geriatrics   
Gynecology  
Hand surgery   
Hematology   
Hospital medicine  
Infectious disease/travel medicine   
Integrative medicine   
Internal medicine   
Maternal and fetal medicine   
Neonatal-perinatal medicine   
Nephrology   
Neurology   
Neurosurgery   
Obstetrics   
Occupational medicine   
Ophthalmology   
Optometry   
Orthopedics   
Otolaryngology  
Pain medicine   
Palliative care   
Pathology   
Pediatric medicine   
(Pediatric specialists listed by specialty)
Physical medicine and rehabilitation   
Plastic/cosmetic surgery   
Plastic/reconstructive surgery   
Podiatry   
Psychiatry   
Pulmonary medicine   
Radiology   
Rheumatology   
Sleep medicine   
Sports medicine   
Surgery   
Thoracic surgery 
Transplantation   
Urogynecology   
Urology and urologic surgery   
Vascular surgery 

CANCER SPECIALISTS
Oncology, general   
Breast cancer (surgical)
Breast cancer (medical) 
Colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer (medical)   
Gynecological   
Lung   
Radiation oncology   

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture   
Chiropractic medicine   
Naturopathy