As both a radiation oncologist and physician-scientist, Dr. Gan's basic science research interest focuses on the tumor microenvironment, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and radiation biology. He is pursuing translational research with the goal of developing novel treatment strategies for head and neck and thoracic cancers. Dr. Gan and his research team are testing the hypothesis that radiotherapy can up-regulate EMT which can lead to accelerated tumor repopulation, loco-regional and distant metastasis and overall treatment resistance. He is ideally suited to address this question because of his fellowship training and expertise in establishing head and neck cancer patient-derived tumor xenografts mouse models, developing a model for mouse head and neck irradiation, and evaluating tumor stem cell biology and its respective microenvironment.
Dr. Gan is interested in how radiotherapy (particularly high dose per fraction also known as stereotactic body radiotherapy) and EMT may affect local and distant control rates in both HPV positive and negative head and neck cancers and thoracic malignancies. He became interested in this area because local control and overall survival remain very poor for patients with HPV negative head and neck cancers. Insights gained from a better understanding of why these tumors fail locally and distantly can potentially improve outcomes.
Dr. Gan and his team also are pursuing translational research with the goal of developing novel treatment strategies for head and neck and thoracic cancers.