Nelson Jen An Chao, MD

Professor of Medicine
Donald D. and Elizabeth G. Cooke Cancer Research Professor
Professor in Immunology
Research Professor of Global Health
Professor in Pathology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Chief, Division of Cell Therapy in the Department of Medicine
Affiliate of the Regeneration Next Initiative
Campus mail 2400 Pratt St Suite 5000, DUMC Box 3961, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 668-1000
Email address

My research interests are in two broad areas, clinical hematopoietic stem cell and cord blood transplantation and in the laboratory studies related to graft vs. host disease and immune reconstitution. On the clinical side we are currently conducting approximately 50 different clinical protocols ranging from preparatory regimens, supportive care studies and disease specific protocols. Most of these clinical studies are centered around studies of the sources of stem cells and the methods to improve the long term outcome. There are exploratory protocols for novel therapies such as dendritic cell therapy for several malignancies, antiangiogenesis therapy, graft engineering to prevent graft-versus-host disease and antigen specific T cells or non specific NK cells to prevent relapse. Moreover a strong focus of the program is to develop cord-blood transplantation for adult patients with hematologic malignancies. The laboratory studies center on understanding the immunological events that occur with graft-vs-host disease and methods to prevent this disease. The current efforts focus on understanding murine reconstitution following transplantation, use of a peptide polymer to block MHC class II recognition of minor histocompatibility antigens, use of T cell engineering to prevent graft-versus-host disease at the same time preserving a graft-versus-malignancy effect.

For more information see

In Their Words

Education and Training

  • Fellow in Oncology, Medicine, Stanford University, 1985 - 1987
  • Medical Resident, Medicine, Stanford University, 1981 - 1984
  • M.D., Yale University, 1981


Alvarnas, J. C., R. S. Negrin, S. J. Horning, W. W. Hu, G. D. Long, J. R. Schriber, K. Stockerl-Goldstein, et al. “High-dose therapy with hematopoietic cell transplantation for patients with central nervous system involvement by non-Hodgkin's lymphoma..” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 6, no. 3A (2000): 352–58.


Chao, N. J., D. S. Snyder, M. Jain, R. M. Wong, J. C. Niland, R. S. Negrin, G. D. Long, et al. “Equivalence of 2 effective graft-versus-host disease prophylaxis regimens: results of a prospective double-blind randomized trial..” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 6, no. 3 (2000): 254–61.


Hu, W. W., R. S. Negrin, K. Stockerl-Goldstein, L. J. Johnston, J. A. Shizuru, R. M. Wong, N. J. Chao, G. D. Long, R. H. Feiner, and K. G. Blume. “Four-cycle high-dose therapy with hematopoietic support for metastatic breast cancer: no improvement in outcomes compared with single-course high-dose therapy..” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 6, no. 1 (2000): 58–69.


Chen, B. J., R. E. Morris, and N. J. Chao. “Graft-versus-host disease prevention by rapamycin: cellular mechanisms..” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 6, no. 5A (2000): 529–36.


Stockerl-Goldstein, K. E., S. A. Reddy, S. F. Horning, K. G. Blume, N. F. Chao, W. W. Hu, L. F. Johnston, et al. “Favorable treatment outcome in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients with "poor" mobilization of peripheral blood progenitor cells..” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 6, no. 5 (2000): 506–12.


Nieto, Y., P. J. Cagnoni, E. J. Shpall, X. Xu, J. Murphy, J. Vredenburgh, N. J. Chao, S. I. Bearman, and R. B. Jones. “A predictive model for relapse in high-risk primary breast cancer patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem-cell transplant..” Clin Cancer Res 5, no. 11 (November 1999): 3425–31.


Hu, W. W., G. D. Long, K. E. Stockerl-Goldstein, L. J. Johnston, N. J. Chao, R. S. Negrin, and K. G. Blume. “A feasibility study of multiple cycle therapy with melphalan, thiotepa, and paclitaxel followed by mitoxantrone, thiotepa, and paclitaxel with autologous hematopoietic cell support for metastatic breast cancer..” Clin Cancer Res 5, no. 11 (November 1999): 3411–18.


Rizzieri, D. A., J. J. Vredenburgh, R. Jones, M. Ross, E. J. Shpall, A. Hussein, G. Broadwater, et al. “Prognostic and predictive factors for patients with metastatic breast cancer undergoing aggressive induction therapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem-cell support..” J Clin Oncol 17, no. 10 (October 1999): 3064–74.

Full Text

Ross, M., G. M. Schmidt, J. C. Niland, M. D. Amylon, A. C. Dagis, G. D. Long, A. P. Nademanee, et al. “Cyclosporine, methotrexate, and prednisone compared with cyclosporine and prednisone for prevention of acute graft-vs.-host disease: effect on chronic graft-vs.-host disease and long-term survival..” Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 5, no. 5 (1999): 285–91.