Dr. Scott Baker came to the Hutchinson Center nearly three years ago thanks to his interest in research and academics.
But one of the big draws for him was the Long-Term Follow-Up program.
"Knowing about the history and the resources of the LTFU program, it was very exciting for me to come here," he said.
Today, Baker wears several hats at the Center and other institutions in the Seattle area. He is director of the Center’s Survivorship Program along with co-director Dr. Karen Syrjala, and he was recently named to head the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.
Elsewhere, he leads the pediatric survivorship program at Seattle Children’s and serves as professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington.
He grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and developed an interest in medicine at an early age.
"I was always fascinated by cancer for some reason. My great-grandmother had cancer when I was young, probably junior high. So, that’s when I started thinking about these things.
"Back then, I didn’t know there was such a thing as pediatric oncology. I didn’t know cancer occurred in kids," he said. Baker has focused his research on short- and long-term effects of blood and marrow transplantation.
He has investigated the incidence, risk factors and characteristics of cardiopulmonary, metabolic, renal, endocrine and reproductive late effects and quality-of-life outcomes in long-term cancer survivors.
"My interest in bone marrow transplantation is long-standing, even back to medical school, and is the core of what I have done for my whole career," he said.
At the Center, he has continued to focus on late effects of cancer therapy, especially after blood and marrow transplantation. Pediatric transplantation will continue to be a major part of his work.
"Children are much more resilient than adults, and we have a lot more success in curing cancers in this group," he said.
As head of the pediatric program, he said he would like to see more children treated here for cancer and possibly other diseases where transplantation is an effective therapy.
"Today, close to half of our transplants are for non-malignant diseases. We are evaluating transplants for immune deficiencies, sickle cell anemia, bone marrow failure diseases, metabolic diseases and other genetic diseases," he said.
When he is not busy at the Center, most of his time is consumed by baseball and soccer—not his activities but those of his children, two sons, 11 and 15. To keep up with them, he stays in shape at a health club.
"Finding a good balance in life is important," he said