Gary D. Kao

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Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology
Attending Staff Physician, Department of Radiation Oncology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Attending Staff Physician, Philadelphia Veterans Medical Center, Department of Radiation Oncology
Consulting Staff, Chester County Hospital
Staff Physician, Pennsylvania Hospital, Department of Radiation Oncology
Consulting Staff, Presbyterian Hospital
Consulting Staff, Capital Health Systems at Mercer
Associate Medical Staff, Holy Redeemer Hospital, Department of Radiation Oncology
Department: Radiation Oncology

Contact information
Department of Radiation Oncology
Smilow Center for Translational Research, Room 8-134
3400 Civic Center Blvd.
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-573-2285
Graduate Group Affiliations
BA (Philosophy)
Johns Hopkins University , 1984.
M.D. (Medicine)
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1988.
PhD (Molecular Biology)
University of Pennsylvania, 1998.
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Description of Research Expertise

The overall goal of the Kao Laboratory is to understand aspects of cancer and normal tissue biology that will ultimately allow us develop and refine anticancer treatment. Our current project involves the development of novel assays for circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor material (CTM) to serve as "liquid biopsies" to enable serial interrogation of the biology of the primary and metastatic tumor, all at no risk to the patient.
We have also attacked this goal via interrelated approaches that have included: (i) novel assays to study the integrity of the blood:brain:barrier (BBB) as a determinant of malignant brain tumor treatment success (ii) investigating the biology of histone deacetylases in cancer and normal tissues, its role in development and cellular growth, and in the response to histone deacetylase inhibitors and other treatment modifiers, and (iii) developing novel vertebrate-based systems to investigate the relative effects of treatment on cancer cell viability as well as normal tissue development and function. We believe the understanding resulting from these investigations will enable us to optimize the "therapeutic ratio" --developing more effective yet less toxic treatment strategies

Description of Itmat Expertise

The Kao laboratory studies mechanisms governing cancer cell viability and treatment resistance, with a primary focus on mechanisms mediated by histone deacetylase and mitotic checkpoint regulation. We have also helped pioneer the use of zebrafish as novel vertebrate model system for translational research.

Selected Publications

Yanling Wang, Haineng Xu, Tianrun Liu, Menggui Huang, Param-Puneet Butter, Chunsheng Li, Lin Zhang, Gary D. Kao, Yanqing Gong, Amit Maity, Constantinos Koumenis, and Yi Fan: Temporal DNA-PK activation drives genomic instability and therapy resistance in glioma stem cells. JCI Insight 3(3), Feb 8 2018.

Xu MJ, Dorsey JF, Amaravadi R, Karakousis G, Simone CB 2nd, Xu X, Xu W, Carpenter EL, Schuchter L, Kao GD: Circulating Tumor Cells, DNA, and mRNA: Potential for Clinical Utility in Patients With Melanoma. Oncologist. 21(1): 84-94, Jan 2016.

Xu MJ, Cooke M, Steinmetz D, Karakousis G, Saxena D, Bartlett E, Xu X, Hahn SM, Dorsey JF, Kao GD: A novel approach for the detection and genetic analysis of live melanoma circulating tumor cells. PLoS One 10(3): e0123376, Mar 25 2015.

McQuade C1, Al Zaki A, Desai Y, Vido M, Sakhuja T, Cheng Z, Hickey RJ, Joh D, Park SJ, Kao G, Dorsey JF, Tsourkas A.: A Multifunctional Nanoplatform for Imaging, Radiotherapy, and the Prediction of Therapeutic Response. Small. 11(7): 834-43, Feb 18 2015.

Dorsey JF, Kao GD, MacArthur KM, Ju M, Steinmetz D, Wileyto EP, Simone CB 2nd, Hahn SM. : Tracking viable circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the peripheral blood of non-small cell lung cancer patients undergoing definitive radiation therapy: Pilot study results. Cancer. 121(1): 139-49, Jan 1 2015.

Ju M, Kao GD, Steinmetz D, Chandrasekaran S, Keefe SM, Guzzo TJ, Christodouleas JP, Hahn SM, Dorsey JF.: Application of a telomerase-based circulating tumor cell (CTC) assay in bladder cancer patients receiving postoperative radiation therapy: A case study. Cancer Biol Ther. 15(6): 683-7, Jun 2014.

Macarthur KM, Kao GD, Chandrasekaran S, Alonso-Basanta M, Chapman C, Lustig RA, Wileyto EP, Hahn SM, Dorsey JF.: Detection of brain tumor cells in the peripheral blood by a telomerase promoter-based assay. Cancer Res. 74(8): 2152-9, Apr 2014.

Al Zaki A, Joh D, Cheng Z, de Barros AL, Kao G, Dorsey J, Tsourkas A.: Gold-Loaded Polymeric Micelles for Computed Tomography-Guided Radiation Therapy Treatment and Radiosensitization. ACS nano. 8(1): 104-12, Jan 2014.

Joh DY, Kao GD, Murty S, Stangl M, Sun L, Al Zaki A, Xu X, Hahn SM, Tsourkas A, Dorsey JF.: Theranostic gold nanoparticles modified for durable systemic circulation effectively and safely enhance the radiation therapy of human sarcoma cells and tumors. Transl Oncol. 6(6): 722-31, Dec 2013.

Joh DY, Sun L, Stangl M, Al Zaki A, Murty S, Santoiemma PP, Davis JJ, Baumann BC, Alonso-Basanta M, Bhang D, Kao GD, Tsourkas A, Dorsey JF. : Selective targeting of brain tumors with gold nanoparticle-induced radiosensitization. PLoS One. 8(4), Apr 30 2013.

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Last updated: 06/25/2018
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