A majority of people with blood cancers like leukemia are seniors, but most studies about these diseases don’t include them. There’s a big gap in knowledge about how to provide care for people 60 and over, and we have to change that. My research tends to focus on traditionally marginalized patients — seniors or people who have multiple health challenges — so that we can figure out how to best help them. For example, I once cared for an 80-year-old man with cancer. At the time, only a few people in the world had ever undergone a bone marrow transplant at that age. But, using an evidence-based test I developed with colleagues at Fred Hutch, we discovered that he was actually a good candidate for the procedure. He got the transplant and was able to enjoy a few more precious years with his wife. That’s why I do this.
I grew up in Egypt, and when I was a child, my father was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and eventually died from it. At a young age, I learned about the important role of physicians in taking care of patients with cancer. I also recognized the limited access patients in Egypt had to research, supportive care and treatment options. Out of these experiences grew my desire to become an oncologist. Today, I treat patients the way I would treat my own family members. I use my research and clinical expertise to support survival and a good quality of life.
Area of clinical practice
Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Cellular Immunotherapy
My specialty is autologous (donated from the patient’s own body) and allogeneic (taken from a genetically matching donor) stem cell transplantation for patients with blood cancers. I have extensive experience working with seniors and those whose situations are medically complex. Much of my time is spent conducting research; however, two months out of the year, I care for patients on the transplantation services at the South Lake Union Clinic and UW Medical Center - Montlake.
In the lab, I focus on using biomedical knowledge to develop tools doctors can use to improve decision-making. For example, my colleagues and I pioneered the first scoring system to predict the risks a transplant poses to an individual patient. This system is now widely used in clinical practice and in clinical trial design around the world. Recently, I integrated geriatric assessment (specialized assessment for older patients) into the decision-making process for the treatment of leukemia with chemotherapy or transplant. Throughout my career, I have served as the principal investigator for a number of grants and contracts awarded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Cancer Society and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. I also hold a number of leadership positions with national and international organizations such as the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network.
Assiut University, Internal Medicine and Hematology
Assiut University, Hematology; South Egypt Cancer Institute, Medical Oncology; University of Washington, Medical Oncology
Master of Science, Assiut University, Internal Medicine
At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a patient care 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.
Fred Hutch 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.