About Dr. Anne Tsao
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 is a professor at the university’s Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology.
Dr. Tsao is a leader in researching malignant mesothelioma and thoracic oncology. Her current focus is on finding new gene therapy treatments for mesothelioma.
She has written or co-authored more than 100 publications in a variety of academic journals.
Her research has been published in:
- Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
- Journal of Clinical Oncology
- Journal of Thoracic Oncology
- Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Awards and Contributions
- American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Merit Award
- ASCO Career Development Award
- ASCO Young Investigator Award
- Head and Neck SPORE Career Development Award
- MD Anderson Achievement in Research Award
- NIH Clinician Scientist K12 Award
Memberships and Organizations
Dr. Tsao serves on many committees and boards and is an active member of many national and international oncology societies.
She is a member of the following organizations:
- MDACC Clinical Research Committee (Co-Chair)
- Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Lung Executive Committee
- Scientific Board of the American Radium Society
- SWOG (formerly known as the Southwest Oncology Group) Mesothelioma Steering Committee
- SWOG Lung Executive Committee
Dr. Tsao also partners with ASCO and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to lobby the United States Congress to provide more funding for cancer research.
Dr. Taso is also a member of the following medical research associations:
- ASCO Leadership Development Program
- International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
- Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
Dr. Tsao began her medical studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she earned a bachelor’s in molecular biology. She holds a medical degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
She performed her residency at the Indiana University Department of Internal Medicine. She completed her fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she currently serves as vice president of academic affairs and as 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. She 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.”
Like most leading experts, Dr. Tsao believes that the best way to treat mesothelioma is through a multidisciplinary approach and working cooperatively with other specialists like oncologists, radiologists, and surgeons.
To provide her patients with the best care, Dr. Tsao and her teams use individualized treatment plans that include novel therapies like immunotherapy or proton therapy.
Every patient and every instance of mesothelioma is unique, which is why Dr. Tsao supports individualized treatment plans. Rather than following a single treatment plan for all of her patients, she determines which treatment paths are most effective depending on the cancer’s stage, prognosis, and available treatments.
Dr. Tsao has been the principal investigator for several of MD Anderson’s clinical trials. When it comes to research, Dr. Tsao concentrates on the molecular components of cancer so she can further individualize treatment plans.
Dr. Tsao spends her time focusing on genes, such as the SRC kinase gene, and proteins, like N-cadherin, to determine their connection to cancer.
Once she’s determined the relationship between genes or proteins and mesothelioma, she and other researchers use that knowledge to look for new treatment methods or better diagnostic methods.
Dr. Tsao has also served as the National Health Institute’s (NHI) principal investigator for phases 1 and 2 of a trial to test pemetrexed and cisplatin (standard mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs) with or without cediranib maleate — a substance that may inhibit tumor growth — to treat pleural mesothelioma.
One of Dr. Tsao’s areas of expertise is proton therapy. While proton therapy has been used to treat other forms of cancer, she helped develop this procedure as a treatment option for mesothelioma.
Proton therapy is a form of external-beam radiation therapy. In proton therapy, the radiation travels from a machine outside of the patient, through their skin, and to the tumor.
Studies suggest that proton therapy delivers up to 60% less radiation to the healthy cells surrounding the tumor than conventional radiation therapies.
Targeted proton therapy likely produces less severe side effects than those from standard radiation.
Unlike photon-based external-beam radiation therapy, the protons or high-energy positively charged particles used in proton therapy go to specific places within the body without damaging additional cells.
Part of the reason for that is the protons stop at the tumor, but with standard X-rays, the rays continue to deposit radiation as they leave the body.
Dr. Tsao’s Healing Philosophy
Dr. Tsao has been an advocate for individualized patient plans, helping the medical community determine the value of developing personalized strategies for treating various forms of mesothelioma and 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.
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.
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Getting Specialized Mesothelioma Treatment
Patients can feel confident they’re receiving the most current standard of care because Dr. Tsao is at the forefront of mesothelioma treatment research.
Her patients will quickly learn that she is a kind and compassionate doctor who takes the time to listen to their concerns. They can trust that the treatments she suggests are the best options for them because all plans are tailored to the patient’s specific situation.
If you would like more information about working with Dr. Tsao or another pleural mesothelioma specialist, contact our Support Team today.