Dr. Anne Tsao

Dr. Anne Tsao is a medical oncologist and Director of the Mesothelioma Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is internationally renowned for her research and extensive knowledge of mesothelioma treatment, greatly improving the length and quality of her patients’ lives.

Dr. Tsao believes in individual, patient-based care, and that personalized treatment plans should be developed for each and every mesothelioma patient.  This approach is unique in the medical community, where “one size fits all” solutions are often prescribed.

In addition to directing MD Anderson’s mesothelioma program, Dr. Tsao also practices at the Park Plaza Hospital and Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center, and is a professor in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at AD Anderson.

Dr. Tsao’s Location

Pleural mesothelioma patients interested in working with Dr. Tsao can reach her at:

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Unit 432

Houston, TX 77030

(713) 792-2121

Dr. Tsao’s Career Highlights

Dr. Tsao is an accomplished oncologist, and some of her career highlights include:

  • Leading medical oncology specialist, who has developed and improved mesothelioma treatments
  • Champion for personalized, patient-based treatment plans
  • Helped develop proton therapies that better treat mesothelioma
  • Continues to research new treatment options for mesothelioma patients

Dr. Tsao’s Background

Dr. Tsao began her medical studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she earned a bachelor’s in molecular biology. She then achieved her M.D. from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Tsao performed her residency at the Indiana University Department of Internal Medicine, before completing her fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. At the end of her formal education, Dr. Tsao stayed at the Anderson Cancer Center and is now a Professor in the Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Oncology.

Dr. Tsao has led several innovative clinical trials, many of which focus on the treatment of malignant (cancerous) mesothelioma. Dr. Tsao has also researched other forms of lung cancer, and her research has been featured in numerous publications.

“There is truly no better feeling than seeing a patient do well on a clinical trial that you were instrumental in developing or had the original idea to do,” she said.

Dr. Tsao is a member of many professional associations, including:

  • Member of Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board
  • Guest Faculty Member at Clinical Care Options
  • Co-chair of the the Clinical Research Committee
  • Board Member of the American Radium Society
  • Board Member of the Southwest Oncology Steering Committee
  • Former Coordinator for Clinical Protocol at the University of Chicago

Medical Specializations

Dr. Anne Tsao is Board Certified for the Medical Oncology Specialty with the American Board of Internal Medicine. She is well known for her work with malignant mesothelioma, as is considered one of the world’s leading experts due to her dedication to this specific type of cancer. Dr. Tsao has done extensive research on malignant mesothelioma and has been the principal investigator for numerous clinic trials.

Dr. Tsao has several additional research areas, including proton therapy. This advanced radiation therapy uses high-energy proton beams to directly target a tumor and destroy cancer cells. Proton therapy uses a lower level of radiation than other radiation therapies, yet can be more effective, making it unique in its ability to target mesothelioma while preserving healthy tissues throughout treatment.

Dr. Tsao has also been a champion for individualized treatment plans. This philosophy follows that personalized therapies are more effective than a single cure approach to helping patients treat and prevent cancer.

In addition to her own work and research, Dr. Tsao frequently shares her expertise with other medical professionals through lectures and symposiums. She has garnered world-wide recognition and has received research grants from the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Health.

Dr. Tsao’s Career Accomplishments

Dr. Tsao has become a medical leader for mesothelioma, developing and participating in research and clinical trials that have improved the treatments available to patients.

 Dr. Tsao’s accomplishments include:

  • Internationally renowned mesothelioma expert
  • Helped developed proton therapy to treat mesothelioma
  • Conducted multiple promising clinical trials in an effort to find a mesothelioma cure

Awards & Honors

Dr. Tsao has earned a number of professional awards and honors during her career, including:

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology Merit Award
  • Head and Neck SPORE career Development Award
  • National Institute of Health Clinician Scientist Award
  • Young Investigator Award

Dr. Tsao’s Current Work

Dr. Tsao is currently the Director of the Mesothelioma program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Tsao’s strength is as an academic, in which she actively participates in clinical research, educates physicians, and works directly with mesothelioma patients to develop improved treatment options.

MD Anderson Health Center is recognized as one of the leading mesothelioma treatment centers, and has one of the highest volumes of mesothelioma patients in the country. Because mesothelioma is relatively rare, this gives Dr. Tsao the unique opportunity to work with a high number of patients and ultimately better understand and treat malignant mesothelioma. MD Anderson has both a clinical division, in which patients are treated for mesothelioma, as well as a clinical research division where new trials and research are developed.

As the Director of the Mesothelioma program at MD Anderson, Dr. Tsao oversees a team of more than 30 specialists in the medical field. They work together to identify and utilize the latest mesothelioma treatments, including radiation therapy, and further world-wide mesothelioma expertise through clinical trials and research.

Dr. Tsao’s Notable Research and Work

While Dr. Tsao has led or been involved in many research projects focused on the development of new mesothelioma treatments, one of her ongoing clinical trials is quite notable. Dr. Tsao is currently working on phase II of a multi-year study on malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment. In the study, Dr. Tsao and her team of researchers are testing the effectiveness of an immunotherapy treatment.

Immunotherapy is a promising class of mesothelioma treatment. It involves modifying or amplifying the body’s immune system so it can better fight cancer cells. In immunotherapy, scientists take substances called biological response modifiers (BRMs) and administer them to the patient. Once the patient has the BRMs in their system, these substances go to work at boosting the immune system.

In Dr. Tsao’s immunotherapy study for pleural mesothelioma, researchers use a type of vaccine called peptide vaccines to enhance the patient’s immune system. The participants in the study are pleural mesothelioma patients who have already undergone either an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) or a pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) surgical procedure. The study, conducted as a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center, began in April of 2013 and is set to conclude in 2019.

The purpose of Dr. Tsao’s peptide vaccine study is to test its effectiveness in preventing mesothelioma recurrence after surgery. Many patients initially respond well following aggressive surgeries like EPP or P/D. Some achieve remission, which is a state where there are no longer any visible signs of cancer. But all too often the mesothelioma comes back months or years later. Thanks to Dr. Tsao, the mesothelioma research community is inching closer to preventing recurrence and ultimately finding a cure.

Dr. Tsao’s Healing Philosophy

Dr. Tsao has been an advocate for individualized patient plans, helping the medical community see the value in developing personalized strategies for treating various forms of lung cancer.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is devoted to cancer prevention, treatment, education and research. It is highly respected throughout the world due to its exclusive devotion to cancer care. The Center’s mission is to eliminate cancer globally through integrated programs that combine patient care, education and cancer research.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center’s core values are Caring, Integrity, and Discovery.

Dr. Tsao also follows MD Anderson’s Thoracic/Head and Neck Oncology mission, which strives to provide high-quality patient care while simultaneously preventing aerodigestive cancers and advancing treatment options through laboratory research and clinical trials.

Get in touch with Dr. Tsao today by contacting the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Or ask your physician for a referral to this world-class mesothelioma specialist.

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