James Olson, M.D., Ph.D.

faculty member

James Olson, M.D., Ph.D.

Member
Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch

Fax: 206.667.2917
Mailstop: D4-100

Dr. James Olson discovers and develops promising new drugs for cancer patients, primarily children with brain cancer. He led the creation of “Tumor Paint,” an imaging agent derived from scorpion venom that illuminates cancer cells. Tumor Paint is designed to guide surgeons with precision as they identify and remove tumors with minimal damage to adjacent normal tissue.

Building on the success of Tumor Paint, Dr. Olson and his colleagues are now developing a new class of drugs called optides, short for “optimized peptides.” Unlike chemotherapies, which usually destroy healthy tissue alongside the cancerous cells they target, optides can zero in on cancer cells. Dr. Olson’s team is using naturally occurring molecules to engineer new optides that could fight many difficult-to-treat cancers, brain disorders and other diseases.

The promising work on optides is the focus of Project Violet. Named after one of Dr. Olson’s young patients, inspired by children with rare or incurable diseases and fueled by a community of supporters, Project Violet brings hope to families around the world.

Other Appointments & Affiliations

Professor, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
University of Washington School of Medicine

Adjunct Professor, Pathology and Pharmacology
University of Washington School of Medicine

Attending Physician
Seattle Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center

Education

B.S., Biomedical Science, Magna Cum Laude, Western Michigan University, 1984

Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Michigan, 1989

M.D., University of Michigan, 1991

Internship in Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine / Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, 1991-1992

Residency in Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine / Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, 1992-1994

Fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine / Children’s Hospital and Medical Center / Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1994-1997

spotlight

“My work is driven by an urgency to make a difference in patients’ lives, and all of these projects are directed at that goal.”

 —Dr. James Olson

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For the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with faculty.

Email media@fredhutch.org or call 206.667.2210