Pediatric Surgeon; Associate Professor of Surgery (Clinical Scholar)
  • Summary
  • Publications
  • Research
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Kasper Wang, MD, is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed eight years of general surgery training at Stanford University Hospital and subsequently two years of fellowship training in pediatric surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Wang balances a busy clinical practice with both clinical and basic research endeavors. He is a principal investigator for the Childhood Liver Disease Research Network (ChiLDReN), funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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Clinical Interests

Minimally invasive surgery of the chest and abdomen, hepatobiliary diseases of infants and children, solid tumors, esophageal disorders, biliary atresia, correction of pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum chest wall deformities.

Education

Medical School: 

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Internship: 

Stanford University Hospital: General Surgery

Residency: 

Stanford University Hospital: Resident and Administrative Chief Resident in General Surgery

Fellowship: 

Children's Hospital Los Angeles: Pediatric Surgery

Accomplishments

Certification: 

Surgery and Pediatric Surgery: American Board of Surgery

Medical Memberships: 

American Medical Student Association; Association for Academic Surgery; Los Angeles Surgical Society; American Pediatric Surgical Association; American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases; Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgery; Society of University Surgeons; Society of Asian American Surgeons; Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Committee on Fetus and Newborn Liaison, Section on Surgery Representative; Association for Academic Surgery; ChiLDREN Consortium: Steering Committee Member, Surgery Committee Chairman, START protocol Working Group Co- chairman, Pilot Projects Review Committee Member; American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases: “Clinical Liver Transplantation and Liver Surgery: Living Donor & Split Liver Transplantation, Hepatobiliary Surgery” Review Committee Member

Publications: 

Bezerra JA, Spino C, Magee JC, Shneider BL, Rosenthal P, Wang KS, Erlichman J, Haber B, Hertel PM, Karpen SJ, Kerkar N, Loomes KM, Molleston JP, Murray KF, Romero R, Schwarz KB, Shepherd R, Suchy FJ, Turmelle YP, Whitington PF, Moore J, Sherker AH, Robuck PR, Sokol RJ. Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN). Use of Corticosteroids After Hepatoportoenterostomy for Bile Drainage in Infants With Biliary Atresia: The START Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2014 May 7; 311 (17):1750-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.2623. PMID: 24794368, PubMed Central PMCID pending.

Utley S, James D, Mavila N, Nguyen MV, Vendryes C, Michael Salisbury S, Phan J, Wang KS. Fibroblast Growth Factor signaling regulates the expansion of A6-expressing hepatocytes in association with AKT-dependent ß-catenin activation.Journal of Hepatology. 2014 May; 60(5): 1002-9, PubMed PMID: 24365171, PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3995894.

Schwarz K, Haber B, Rosenthal P,Mack C, Moore J, Bezerra J, Karpen S, Kerkar N, Shneider B, Turmelle Y, Whitington P, Molleston J, Murray K, Ng V, Romero R, Wang KS, Sokol R, and Magee J for the Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network. Extra-hepatic anomalies in infants with biliary atresia: results of a large prospective North American multi-center study. Hepatology. 2013 Nov; 58(5): 1724-31. PMID: 23703680PMCID pending.

Superina R, Magee JC, Brandt ML, Healey PJ, Tiao G, Ryckman F, Karrer FM, Iyer K, Fecteau A, West K, Burns RC, Flake A, Lee H, Lowell JA, Dillon P, Colombani P, Ricketts R, Li Y, Moore J, Wang KS. Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network. The anatomic pattern of biliary atresia identified at time of Kasai hepatoportoenterostomy and early postoperative clearance of jaundice are significant predictors of transplant-free survival. Annals of Surgery. 2011 Oct; 254(4): 577-85. PMID: 21869674 PMCID: PMC3460800.

Mavila N, James D, Shivakumar P, Utley S, Mak K, Wu A, Nguyen M, Vendryes C, Groff M, Wang KS. Expansion of PROMININ-1-expressing cells in association with fibrosis of biliary atresia. Hepatology, Manuscript in press.

Research Interests: 

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Research Topics

  • Signaling pathways regulating liver stem cells and progenitor cells during liver organogenesis and regeneration and cholestatic liver diseases.

  • Biliary atresia and other cholestatic liver diseases in children such as Alagille's Syndrome and PFIC requiring biliary diversion.  

Research Overview

Biliary atresia is a disease of infants where the bile ducts are damaged due to unclear causes such that bile is unable to flow from the liver and progressive liver damage occurs. Even surgical drainage, which is effective only approximately 60% of the time, does not necessarily prevent progression towards liver failure. As such, biliary atresia is the most common indication for pediatric liver transplantation, which is both costly and associated with significant changes in life style. Efforts to understand the underlying causes of biliary atresia and the progression towards cirrhosis are critical to impacting the outcome of infants and children with this disease.

Bilary Atresia Research

Dr. Wang is the Principal Investigator for an NIH-funded grant at Children's Hospital Los Angeles focusing on biliary atresia and other liver diseases of infants and children within the Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN), which is a consortium of 15 of the top children's hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, joined to study rare, but lethal pediatric liver diseases. To date, nearly 1,500 patients with biliary atresia have been enrolled in a number of studies and clinical trials through ChiLDREN.

Enrollment for one therapeutic trial studying the efficacy of postoperative corticosteroids on survival for biliary atresia is complete and we are awaiting two year follow up to unblind the data. We are about to embark on a phase I clinical trial, as part of the consortium, studying the utility of intravenous gammaglobulin on survival after surgery for biliary atresia.

Additionally, Dr. Wang heads a basic research program focusing on the molecular events involved in biliary atresia at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. His research lab focuses on the signaling pathways regulating liver stem/progenitor cells during liver organogenesis and a variety of liver damage such as that incurred by biliary atresia. The hope is that insight into how liver stem/progenitor cells are regulated normal and how they respond to a variety of injuries in addition to biliary atresia will allow greater understanding of how they contribute to the damage or to the repair processes that occurs in biliary atresia. Notably, the fact that despite successful surgical drainage of bile most children with biliary atresia still experience progression towards liver cirrhosis indicates that events related to fibrosis of the liver are either irreversible or unrelated to bile drainage. The key to improving outcomes of patients with biliary atresia is in understanding why this occurs.

Understanding how liver, stem and progenitor cells are regulated could also accelerate development of a more effective bio-artifical liver, which could be utilized in general in the setting of liver failure both in adults and children. Our lab is also currently undergoing efforts to engineer liver as well as bile ducts.

Current Research Studies

Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN)

4650 Sunset Blvd.
MS# 100
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: 323-361-2338Office
Fax: 323-361-3534Fax