Shailender Bhatia, MD

Shailender Bhatia, MD

Shailender Bhatia, MD

  • Director, Melanoma and Renal Cancer Team, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch
  • Professor, Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Medical Oncology

“I believe that it truly takes a village to deliver optimal care to our patients, and at Fred Hutch, patients have that village — compassionate professionals at all levels, who have committed themselves to easing the burden of cancer on the lives of our patients and their caregivers as much as possible.”

— Dr. Bhatia

What would you like patients to know about your approach to care?

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is challenging at so many levels. Our team strives hard through thoughtful, strategic treatment planning and shared decision-making to ensure that our patients feel confident in their recommended treatment path. We discuss the specific and realistic goals for each patient’s unique situation, ranging from cure to prolongation of life, while improving/preserving their quality-of-life as much as possible. We use all the tools at our disposal, including standard therapies and clinical trials, to give our patients the best chance at long-term success. I believe that it truly takes a village to deliver optimal care to our patients, and at Fred Hutch, patients have that village — compassionate professionals at all levels, who have committed themselves to easing the burden of cancer on the lives of our patients and their caregivers as much as possible.

Why did you become a medical oncologist?

I first became interested in hematology-oncology during my internal medicine residency, when I met a cancer patient with a compromised immune system whose immune cells were eating up (phagocytosis) their own blood cells. The microscopic images of blood cells being swallowed by immune cells got me thinking about the marvels of our immune system, and have shaped my career path. I immediately became interested in harnessing the power of our immune system towards eliminating cancer and hence, sought a fellowship at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and the University of Washington School of Medicine, the epicenter of immunotherapy. I subsequently chose to pursue this interest in skin cancers that were considered exceedingly challenging to treat but are now at the forefront of the cancer immunotherapy revolution. One of the aspects of my practice that I enjoy the most is bringing leading-edge clinical trials to our patients, which can offer hope when standard therapies aren’t effective enough.

Provider Background

Area of Clinical Practice
Kidney cancer, skin cancers

Melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, other non-melanoma skin cancers

I am a medical oncologist who specializes in the care of patients with advanced skin cancers that generally require systemic surveillance and therapy. I am committed to developing clinical trials that focus on improving outcomes for patients with skin cancers, especially melanoma (including ocular melanoma, a rare form of cancer that affects pigment cells in the eye), Merkel cell carcinoma and other non-melanoma skin cancers. I am interested in novel therapies that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer and in targeted therapies that spare patients unnecessary side effects.

My research interests also include intra-tumoral immunotherapy, a form of treatment where cancer medications are injected directly into a tumor to improve treatment responses while reducing systemic toxicity. With the continual improvement in our patients survival, I am also committed to reducing the financial and logistical impacts of cancer treatment by optimizing the dose and frequency of immunotherapy drugs and reducing wasteful healthcare expenses.

Diseases Treated



Education, Experience and Certifications

Medical Degree
All India Institute of Medical Sciences

University of Connecticut Health Center, Internal Medicine

University of Washington, Hematology and Oncology

Board Certification
Medical Oncology, 2008; Hematology, 2008, Internal Medicine, 2004, American Board of Internal Medicine

Internship, University of Connecticut Health Center

Clinical Trials

We make promising new treatments available to you through studies called clinical trials led by Fred Hutch physicians. Many of these trials at Fred Hutch have led to FDA-approved treatments and have improved standards of care globally. Together, you and your physician can decide if a study is right for you. 

Find a Clinical Trial Led by Dr. Bhatia


Many of our Fred Hutch 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 Fred Hutch physician has written. 

View Dr. Bhatia's Publications

Your Care Team

At Fred Hutch, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like registered dietitians, 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.

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 providers.

Email or call 206.667.2210