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W. Michael Korn, M.D.

W. Michael Korn, M.D.

W. Michael Korn, M.D.
Associate Professor in Residence
Divisions of Gastroenterology and Hematology/Oncology
Co-Director, Center for Molecular Oncology
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Contact Information

(415) 353-9888 (appts)
(415) 353-7023 (fax)
Box 1705, UCSF; San Francisco, CA 94143-1705
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  • Philipps University of Marburg, Germany, Continuing Education, 1981 - 1984, Medicine
  • Heinrich-Heine University of Düsseldorf, Germany, Approbation as Physician, 1984 - 1988
  • Medicine Philipps University of Marburg, Germany, Medical Doctorate, 1993
  • University of Bern, Switzerland, Internship, 1997, Medicine
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Genetics Program, UCSF Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco, California
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Research Institute, UCSF Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco
  • American Board of Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine
  • Hellen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UCSF Liver Center
  • Department of Medicine/Gastroenterology & Hematology-Oncology
  • Thoracic Oncology Program
  • Acute Pancreatitis
  • Barretts Esophagus
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (Bile Duct Cancer)
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Endoscopic evaluation of the GI Tract
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Gall Bladder Cancer
  • Gallstones
  • Gastric Cancer
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Gastroparesis
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Liver Cancer)
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
  • Small Intestine Cancer
  • Stomach (Gastric) Cancer
  • Ulcers
  • Aenoviral therapies using oncolytic adenoviruses
  • Clinical studies in esophageal, gastric, and pancreatic cancer
  • Systems biology of cancer
  • Targeted Combination Therapies targeting the EGFR and RAS pathways

Dr. W. Michael Korn is an expert in the management of gastrointestinal cancers. He performs diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopies as well as administers medical treatments, such as chemotherapy. In addition to caring for patients, he is the lead investigator of clinical trials exploring new gastrointestinal cancer treatments. His laboratory is involved in research to develop combination therapies for gastrointestinal and breast cancer, based on the analysis of signal transduction pathways.

A native of Germany, Korn earned a medical degree at the University of Marburg and the University of Dusseldorf in Germany. He completed a medical internship at the University of Bern in Switzerland and concluded training at Ev. Krankenhaus Dinslaken in Germany and the University of Essen's West German Cancer Center. He is an associate professor in residence in Gastroenterology and Hematology and Oncology at UCSF.

Research Focus

One focus of research in my group is the adenovirus receptor CAR in epithelial malignancies. We have found that the adenovirus receptor CAR frequently exhibits reduced expression in gastrointestinal cancers, including liver cancer. Our goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms regulating CAR expression in cancer cells, towards designing novel combination therapies consisting of recombinant adenoviruses and signal transduction inhibitors that increase CAR expression. A second project focuses on the rational development of novel combination therapies for cancer based on the analysis of relevant cellular signal transduction pathways. We have applied this approach to improve the cytotoxicity of oncolytic adenoviruses by combining these agents with small molecule signal transduction inhibitors.

Dr. Korn's reserach aims at the rational development of novel combination therapies for gastrointestinal cancer based on an improved understanding of cellular signal transduction pathways. His work is focused on targeting the EGF-receptor/RAS signal transduction pathways. Through collaborations with mathematicians and computer scientist his team has developed computerized models allowing for a systems-level description and simulation of signal transduction processes and functional endpoints (such as apoptosis and cell cycle) in cancer cells. This work has led to the discovery of new mechanisms of pathway cross-talk that led to the development of novel clinical trials that are currently ongoing.

  1. Ko AH, Venook AP, Bergsland EK, Kelley RK, Korn WM, Dito E, Schillinger B, Scott J, Hwang J, Tempero MA. A phase II study of bevacizumab plus erlotinib for gemcitabine-refractory metastatic pancreatic cancer. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2010 Nov; 66(6):1051-7.
  2. Chien AJ, Illi JA, Ko AH, Korn WM, Fong L, Chen LM, Kashani-Sabet M, Ryan CJ, Rosenberg JE, Dubey S, Small EJ, Jahan TM, Hylton NM, Yeh BM, Huang Y, Koch KM, Moasser MM. A phase I study of a 2-day lapatinib chemosensitization pulse preceding nanoparticle albumin-bound Paclitaxel for advanced solid malignancies. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Sep 1; 15(17):5569-75.
  3. Shiina M, Lacher MD, Christian C, Korn WM. RNA interference-mediated knockdown of p21(WAF1) enhances anti-tumor cell activity of oncolytic adenoviruses. Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Nov; 16(11):810-9.
  4. Mirzoeva OK, Das D, Heiser LM, Bhattacharya S, Siwak D, Gendelman R, Bayani N, Wang NJ, Neve RM, Guan Y, Hu Z, Knight Z, Feiler HS, Gascard P, Parvin B, Spellman PT, Shokat KM, Wyrobek AJ, Bissell MJ, McCormick F, Kuo WL, Mills GB, Gray JW, Korn WM. Basal subtype and MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK)-phosphoinositide 3-kinase feedback signaling determine susceptibility of breast cancer cells to MEK inhibition. Cancer Res. 2009 Jan 15; 69(2):565-72.
  5. Lu DC, Theodore P, Korn WM, Chou D. Esophageal erosion 9 years after anterior cervical plate implantation. Surg Neurol. 2008 Mar; 69(3):310-2; discussion 312-3.


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