David Kirsch, MD, PhD, serves as Leader of the Radiation Oncology and Imaging Program. He is the Barbara Levine University Professor and a Professor in the Departments of Radiation Oncology and Pharmacology & Cancer Biology. Dr. Kirsch is a practicing radiation oncologist at Duke University Medical Center and the vice chair for basic and translational research in Radiation Oncology.
A nationally-recognized expert in the care of patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas, he currently serves as the chair of the Developmental Therapeutics Committee for the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC). Dr. Kirsch’s research has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute for outstanding productivity and exceptional accomplishment with an R35 Outstanding Investigator Award. He held an IND for a novel protease-activated fluorescent imaging agent, which was successfully tested in a phase I clinical trial at Duke. Dr. Kirsch is also the PI of a forthcoming multi-institutional randomized clinical trial testing the combination of the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab and radiation therapy for high-risk extremity soft tissue sarcoma.
The Kirsch laboratory utilizes innovative genetically engineered mouse models to study mechanisms of tumor response to radiation, radiation-induced cancer, and normal tissue injury from radiation. In addition, the laboratory utilizes these mouse models to study sarcoma metastasis to the lung and intra-operative molecular imaging.