Tresa M. McGranahan, MD, PhD

Tresa M. McGranahan, MD, PhD

Tresa M. McGranahan, MD, PhD

  • Physician, Fred Hutch
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology; Assistant Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Physician, UW Medicine

Medical Oncology

“I am focused on taking care of the whole patient; knowing who you are as a person is just as important as knowing about your disease.”

— Dr. McGranahan

Why do you focus on the brain?

The brain is the most fascinating organ in the body. I love studying the brain and learning about how differences in neurology can affect us. Part of the reason I chose to focus on neuro-oncology as a specialty is that there is a great opportunity for improvement in how we treat patients; not that long ago, there were zero therapies to offer for malignant brain tumors, but progress has been made — developments in neuro-imaging and new drugs, for example. Neuro-oncology is an area of really active research, so from that perspective it’s an extraordinary field to be part of. Plus, the patients I get to meet are incredible — lovely people who are in a really tough spot. It’s both humbling and rewarding to be able to focus my energy on helping them.

What personal experiences have shaped your approach to care?

During my residency, my father had a serious stroke, and it gave me an up-close appreciation of how hard it is for patients to live with disabilities. My dad had to learn how to walk again. He had to adjust to a new life where he needed help doing many of the things he once did for himself. Watching him go through this experience gave me a deep understanding of some of the less obvious challenges people can face when dealing with a disease or illness — things that may be embarrassing or difficult to admit that you can’t do independently. I focus on creating a safe space for patients to disclose those problems so that we can work together on a solution.

Provider Background

Specialty: Medical Oncology

Area of clinical practice

Brain and Spine, Neurologic Complications

Brain and spinal cord tumors, neurologic complications from cancer and treatment

As a neuro-oncologist, I specialize in caring for patients with brain tumors or cancers that have spread to the brain or spinal cord from other parts of the body. My expertise includes treating patients who are experiencing neurologic problems from cancer or cancer treatment, such as neuropathy or changes in thinking. I see patients at UW Medical Center’s Alvord Brain Tumor Center.

My research focuses on two main areas. The first is developing new treatments to improve survival for patients with primary brain tumors. The second is searching for better ways to protect the brain while patients receive treatments such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy. I lead clinical trials in both of these areas.

Diseases Treated



Education, Experience and Certifications

Medical Degree
UC San Diego School of Medicine

Stanford Medical Center, Neurology

Stanford Medical Center, Neuro-Oncology

Board Certification
Neurology, 2017, American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology; Neuro-Oncology, 2019, United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties

PhD, UC San Diego School of Medicine; Internship, Naval Medical Center - San Diego

Clinical Trials

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

Find a Clinical Trial


Many of our Fred Hutch doctors conduct ongoing research to improve standards of patient care. Their work is evaluated by other doctors 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 provider has written.

View Dr. McGranahan's Publications

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