Frederick R. Appelbaum M.D.

Frederick R. Appelbaum M.D.

Specialties and Expertise

Medical Oncology


Cancer Care




Seattle Cancer Care Alliance - SCCA Inpatient Unit at UWMC

825 Eastlake Ave. E
Seattle, WA 98109-102
Phone: 855.557.0555|Map It 

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at South Lake Union

825 Eastlake Ave. E
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: 855.557.0555|Map It 

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance - Outpatient Clinic

825 Eastlake Ave E.
Seattle, WA 98109
Phone: 855.557.0555|Map It 


Dr. Appelbaum is the executive director of SCCA. His work centers on the biology and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.

Decades of working with cancer patients teaches you to savor everyday pleasures like the teasing notes of coriander and cumin in a simmering pot of curry or getting to hug your child, and it fortifies his resolve to keep moving cancer care forward. He's determined to improve screening, enhance treatment and stop cancer from returning.

As a medical student in the early 1970s, Dr. Appelbaum happened upon Dr. E. Donnall Thomas' initial description of bone-marrow transplantation in a medical journal. The pioneering technique eventually earned Thomas the Nobel Prize and transformed leukemia and related cancers, once thought incurable, into highly treatable diseases with survival rates as high as 90 percent.

I read that article, and it was like a lock and key. That's what I wanted to do, and I hoped to work with Don.

Bone-marrow transplants became the cornerstone of the newly formed Hutchinson Center, and it wasn't long before Dr. Appelbaum was recruited to join Thomas' team of medical mavericks in Seattle making historic inroads against blood cancers.

Now, he holds the job that Thomas once held, and he has spent decades building on Thomas' groundbreaking innovations. Dr. Appelbaum has been an innovator in his own right, refining transplant procedures, conducting clinical trials and caring for patients.

Part of that job is extending the Hutch's patient research beyond transplants. We've expanded our role in the more common solid tumors and have created nontransplant approaches to blood cancers. We've made substantial gains in treating prostate, colon, pancreatic, lung, breast and ovarian cancers, but we have a long way to go.

Inspired by the leadership and clinical insights of his mentors, Dr. Appelbaum envisions a future in which cancer can be managed instead of feared.

We'll be able to tell from a drop of blood who has early cancer or is at risk for cancer. We'll remove it at an initial stage or vaccinate against its return. I'm quite confident that what Don Thomas taught us about the power of the human immune system will come into play.

Patient Care Philosophy

I believe in treating others as I would want to be treated myself.

Clinical Interests

Biology and therapy of acute myeloid leukemia, control of graft-vs-host disease and prevention of transplant-related complications.

Research Interests

Our group is interested in developing an improved understanding of the biology of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and using this knowledge to create novel therapeutic approaches.


Tufts University School of MedicineMedical education1972


Board Certifications

American Board of Internal MedicineMedical Oncology1977
American Board of Internal MedicineInternal Medicine1975
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