Clifford Chao, M.D., New Head Of Radiation Oncology

NEW YORK (April 3, 2008) — K.S. Clifford Chao, M.D., a pre-eminent expert in the use of image-guided targeted radiotherapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for the treatment of cancers, has been named director of the Combined Program in Radiation Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Chao comes to New York from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he is a professor and director of Image-Guided Therapy of Radiation Oncology.

K.S. Clifford Chao, M.D.

In his new position, he also assumes the roles of chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College, where Dattatreyudu Nori, M.D., will serve as executive vice chief. Dr. Chao will also serve as radiation oncologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Additionally, he will have supervisory responsibility for the Department of Radiation Oncology at New York Hospital Queens, where Dr. Nori will continue in his role as chairman. New York Hospital Queens is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College and a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System. Dr. Chao will assume these roles on May 5, 2008.

Dr. Chao’s research focus includes intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and combining the use of positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) images to direct customized radiation treatment plans tailored specifically to individual patients and the molecular characteristics of each tumor. Due to his pioneering work in IMRT (he is author of the widely read textbook, “Practical Essentials of IMRT”) and functional image-guided therapy, the Radiological Society of North America selected him as the recipient of the prestigious Annual Oration Award in 2005.

“Combining functional images and precision therapy together when making radiation treatment decisions for cancer patients is valuable because while CT/MRI scans provide anatomical information, PET images highlight the molecular characteristics and the most metabolically active parts of a tumor. Using both types of images together, we are able to see clearly the size of the tumor, its location and how biologically active it is,” said Dr. Chao. “This approach has helped physicians to tailor precise radiation treatment plans to individual patients and tumors, thereby improving tumor control and reducing toxicity.”

“Clifford Chao’s ceaseless search for new, improved ways to treat cancer patients with individually designed radiotherapy regimens embodies our medical center’s commitment to the development of new technologies and methods to enhance care for our patients,” said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president of Columbia University and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “We are pleased that someone with his expertise and commitment to improving patient care is joining our team at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., with 1.5 million diagnosed every year. While radiotherapy has proven to be highly effective for a wide range of cancers, new research advances are urgently needed to provide new ways of fighting the disease. Institutional collaboration is a cornerstone of our newly expanded cancer program, and Dr. Chao is uniquely qualified to be one of its key leaders,” said Antonio M. Gotto Jr., M.D., D.Phil., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College.

“This new combined program in radiation oncology represents a unified mission for patient care, medical education and research. For cancer patients, Dr. Chao’s leadership will increase treatment options by, for example, expanding opportunities to participate in government- and industry-sponsored clinical trials,” said Herbert Pardes, M.D., president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “Our existing tri-institutional collaborative programs have proven to be enormously successful, increasing research collaborations and advancing care.”

“I am thrilled to join the esteemed faculties of Columbia, Weill Cornell and NewYork-Presbyterian,” said Dr. Chao. “The chance to work with these institutions that are leaders in patient care, research and education and to continue and expand my research into the development of new and molecular targeted radiation treatments for cancer patients, is what drew me to New York. I look forward to building on the unique attributes of each institution to ensure that the Combined Program in Radiation Oncology is at the forefront of clinical care and research in the field.”

Before joining the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2002, Dr. Chao was an associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He received his medical degree from Kaohsiung Medical School in Taiwan. His postgraduate training included a residency and fellowship in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Chung-Gung University in Taipei, Taiwan; a fellowship in the Department of Surgery in the Cancer Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan; and a residency and fellowship in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology in St. Louis.

He is board certified in radiation oncology both in the United States, by the American Board of Radiology, and in Taiwan, by the Board of Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Chao will succeed Dr. Philip O. Alderson, who has served as the interim chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Alderson is now dean of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

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Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree. Among the most selective medical schools in the country, the school is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York State and one of the largest in the country. For more information, please visit

Weill Cornell Medical College Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University’s medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in areas such as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, transplantation medicine, infectious disease, obesity, cancer, psychiatry and public health — and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the mysteries of the human body in health and sickness. In its commitment to global health and education, the Medical College has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical College is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, the first indication of bone marrow’s critical role in tumor growth, and most recently, the world’s first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally-conscious brain-injured patient. For more information, visit

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly a million patient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health-care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. It ranks sixth in U.S.News & World Report’s guide to “America’s Best Hospitals,” ranks first on New York magazine’s “Best Hospitals” survey, has the greatest number of physicians listed in New York magazine’s “Best Doctors” issue, and is included among Solucient’s top 15 major teaching hospitals. The Hospital’s mortality rates are among the lowest for heart attack and heart failure in the country, according to a 2007 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report card. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation’s leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In collaboration with the two medical colleges, the Hospital offers four combined clinical areas: radiation oncology, vascular surgery, plastic surgery and rehabilitation medicine. For more information, visit


Clifford Chao, IMRT, New York, Radiation Oncology