Nelson Jen An Chao, MD

Professor of Medicine
Donald D. and Elizabeth G. Cooke Cancer Research Professor
Professor in Immunology
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 1146 N Pavilion, Durham, NC 27710
Phone (919) 668-1011
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.

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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


Sung, AD, and Chao, NJ. "Acute graft-versus-host disease: Are we close to bringing the bench to the bedside?." Bailliere's Best Practice and Research in Clinical Haematology (2013).

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Zhou, D, Deoliveira, D, Kang, Y, Choi, SS, Li, Z, Chao, NJ, and Chen, BJ. "Insulin-like growth factor 1 mitigates hematopoietic toxicity after lethal total body irradiation." International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics 85, no. 4 (2013): 1141-1148.

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Forman, SJ, Negrin, R, and Chao, N. "Karl Georg Blume, MD." Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 19, no. 6 (2013): 845-846.

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Kanda, J, Kaynar, L, Kanda, Y, Prasad, VK, Parikh, SH, Lan, L, Shen, T, Rizzieri, DA, Long, GD, Sullivan, KM, Gasparetto, C, Chute, JP, Morris, A, Winkel, S, McPherson, J, Kurtzberg, J, Chao, NJ, and Horwitz, ME. "Pre-engraftment syndrome after myeloablative dual umbilical cord blood transplantation: Risk factors and response to treatment." Bone Marrow Transplantation 48, no. 7 (2013): 926-931.

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Sung, AD, Grima, DT, Bernard, LM, Brown, S, Carrum, G, Holmberg, L, Horwitz, ME, Liesveld, JL, Kanda, J, McClune, B, and al, E. "Outcomes and costs of autologous stem cell mobilization with chemotherapy plus G-CSF vs G-CSF alone." Bone Marrow Transplantation (2013).

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Shaughnessy, P, Chao, N, Shapiro, J, Walters, K, McCarty, J, Abhyankar, S, Shayani, S, Helmons, P, Leather, H, Pazzalia, A, and Pickard, S. "Pharmacoeconomics of hematopoietic stem cell mobilization: An overview of current evidence and gaps in the literature." Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation 19, no. 9 (2013): 1301-1309.

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Himburg, H, Harris, J, Ito, T, Daher, P, Russell, J, Quarmyne, M, Doan, P, Helms, K, Nakamura, M, Fixsen, E, Herradon, G, Reya, T, Chao, N, Harroch, S, and Chute, J. "Pleiotrophin Regulates the Retention and Self-Renewal of Hematopoietic Stem Cells in the Bone Marrow Vascular Niche." Cell Reports 2, no. 6 (December 2012): 1774-1774.

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Coleman, CN, Adams, S, Adrianopoli, C, Ansari, A, Bader, JL, Buddemeier, B, Caro, JJ, Casagrande, R, Case, C, Caspary, K, Chang, AS, Chang, HF, Chao, N, Cliffer, KD, Confer, D, Deitchman, S, Derenzo, EG, Dobbs, A, Dodgen, D, Donnelly, EH, Gorman, S, Grace, MB, Hatchett, R, Hick, JL, Hrdina, C, Jones, R, Kane, E, Knebel, A, Koerner, JF, Laffan, AM, Larson, L, Livinski, A, Mackinney, J, Maidment, BW, Manning, R, Marinissen, MJ, Martin, C, Michael, G, Murrain-Hill, P, Nemhauser, JB, Norwood, AE, Nystrom, S, Raheem, M, Redlener, I, Sheehan, K, Simon, SL, Taylor, TP, Toner, E, Wallace, KS, Wieder, J, Weinstock, DM, Wiley, AL, Yeskey, K, Miller, CW, and Whitcomb, RC. "Medical planning and response for a nuclear detonation: a practical guide." Biosecurity and Bioterrorism : Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science 10, no. 4 (December 2012): 346-371.

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Spasojevic, I, da Costa, LRS, Horwitz, ME, Long, GD, Sullivan, KM, Chute, JP, Gasparetto, C, Morris, A, Chao, NJ, and Rizzieri, DA. "Mini test dose of intravenous busulfan (busulfex(®)) in allogeneic non-myeloablative stem cell transplantation, followed by liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry." Cancer Investigation 30, no. 9 (November 2012): 679-682.

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Kanda, J, Chiou, L-W, Szabolcs, P, Sempowski, GD, Rizzieri, DA, Long, GD, Sullivan, KM, Gasparetto, C, Chute, JP, Morris, A, McPherson, J, Hale, J, Livingston, JA, Broadwater, G, Niedzwiecki, D, Chao, NJ, and Horwitz, ME. "Immune recovery in adult patients after myeloablative dual umbilical cord blood, matched sibling, and matched unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation." Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation : Journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation 18, no. 11 (November 2012): 1664-1676.e1.

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