Dr. Ann H. Klopp
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Radiation Oncology
The goal of by lab research is to investigate microenvironmental effects in gynecologic cancer that impact response to treatment. We have two primary projects. One is focused on ovarian cancer and how obesity promotes growth of ovarian cancers. We are currently focusing on adipose derived exosomes as mediators of omental metastasis through EMT and immunologic mechanisms. Research projects utilize adipose and ascites samples to study these effects. We have identified candidate exosomal miRNA and we are testing the effects of these miRNA on omental metastasis.
Our second project is focused on the impact of the microbiome on immune activation cervical cancers. Through a series of non-invasive swabs of the cervix in patients undergoing radiation therapy, we are able to correlate diversity of microbial flora with immune activation. Our goal is to understand the mechanism underlying this relationship using clinical samples and mouse models. In the long term, we hope to manipulate the microbiome in combination with radiation and immunotherapy to maximize anti-tumor response. Potential project could involve testing immune modulators, such as therapeutic vaccines, immunotherapy in cervical cancer models. Alternatively, projects could focus on performing immune or microbiome analysis on clinical samples to identify new strategies to increase immune activation during radiation therapy.