Seth M. Pollack

Appointments and Affiliations

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Clinical Research Division
Assistant Member, Appointed: 2014
University of Washington
School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Appointed: 2014
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA)
Attending Physician
Professional Headshot of Seth M. Pollack

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 19024
1100 Fairview Avenue N
Seattle, Washington 98109-1024


Phone: (206) 667-6629
Fax: (206) 667-7983


M.D., George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 2005.
B.A., Haverford College, Department of Mathematics, 1999.

Research Interests

Dr. Pollack is an expert on sarcomas, cancers of the bone and soft tissues. He sees sarcoma patients at the SCCA; a partnership between the Fred Hutch, UW and Seattle Children’s. The SCCA sees approximately 400 new sarcoma patient referrals per year, including patients from Eastern Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Hawaii. It is consistently one of the highest enrolling sites for the major national sarcoma clinical trials, including trials focused on rare sarcoma subtypes.
In the lab, Dr. Pollack is developing new therapies that can improve sarcoma patient outcomes by enhancing a patient’s immune response against their cancer. His primary research focus is novel “immunotherapies” for patients with advanced sarcoma, especially Synovial Sarcoma (SS) and Myxoid/ Round Cell Liposarcoma (MRCL). These are two soft tissue sarcoma subtypes that affect young individuals and today have a median survival of approximately 1 year in the advanced setting. Dr. Pollack showed that both SS and MRCL tumors homogenously express the NY-ESO-1 protein, which is a member of the cancer-testes antigen (CT antigen) family with features that make it an attractive target for immunotherapy. Using clinical grade reagents, he and his colleagues developed a method for isolating and expanding NY-ESO-1–specific T cells from the peripheral blood of sarcoma patients and adoptively transferring these cells to patients where they can specifically kill NY-ESO-1 expressing tumor cells. Dr. Pollack is the Sponsor of the Investigational New Drug Application (IND), by which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the clinical testing of this new therapy.
In a first clinical trial, clinical responses were short-lived, but Dr. Pollack’s lab identified two ways in which the SS and MRCL seemed to avoid total eradication. These potential means of immune evasion include MHC down-regulation by the tumor cells, reducing effective presentation of NY-ESO-1 and other tumor antigens. Pollack also found that tumors were generally infiltrated with tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) that blunt T cell effector responses. These correlative findings led to two new trials, designed to overcome the problems of low/absent tumor MHC expression and of immune-suppressing TAMs. Dr. Pollack led the development of a new IND and clinical protocols that received positive institutional review and FDA approval. He also led the development of critical immune monitoring assays, such as 16 color flow cytometry, that can be reliably performed on single cell suspensions made from very small tissue samples.
Both trials are now underway for sarcoma patients. One trial combines NY-ESO-1 specific adoptive T cell therapy with radiation used to increase MHC expression in these tumors. Another clinical trial also recently opened, testing an injectable toll-like receptor (TLR) agonist used in combination with radiation to convert type II (inhibitory) macrophages (TAMs) to a type I (activating) phenotype and thus boost the anti-tumor immune response.


American Association of Immunology
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Connective Tissue Oncology Society
Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer

Previous Positions

2012-2013, Associate Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Clinical Research Division
2011-2013, Acting Instructor, University of Washington, School of Medicine, Oncology Division
2011-2012, Research Associate, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
2008-2011, Fellow, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Clinical Oncology
2005-2008, Resident, George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Internal Medicine Residency Program


Recent Publications

Lee A, Huang P, DeMatteo RP, Pollack SM.  2016.  Immunotherapy for Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Tomorrow Is Only a Day Away.. American Society of Clinical Oncology educational book / ASCO. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Meeting. 35:281-90. Abstract
Constantinidou A, Pollack SM, Jones RL.  2014.  Management and outcome of metastatic clear cell sarcoma.. European journal of surgical oncology : the journal of the European Society of Surgical Oncology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology. 40(10):1383.
Chang AE, Chai X, Pollack SM, Loggers E, Rodler E, Dillon J, Parvathaneni U, Moe KS, Futran N, Jones RL.  2014.  Analysis of clinical prognostic factors for adult patients with head and neck sarcomas.. Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 151(6):976-83. Abstract

Coming Soon: New Profiles System!

In preparation for the launch of our new profiles system, we are freezing updates to these profiles. If you have any questions, please email

Researcher Profiles


Related Websites


Scientific Divisions