A significant goal of ovarian cancer research is trying to understand how ovarian cancer tumors grow and spread with the aim of trying to prevent both processes. Dr. Agarwal’s study focuses on the biological processes in the cells in the microenvironment in which the tumor grows, including the cells that form blood vessels near the tumor that bring nutrients to allow it to grow and the cells that interact with the tumor, which foster growth and metastasis. She focuses on a called metalloprotease-PAR1, which she believes fosters blood vessel growth and communication between ovarian cancer and microenvironment cells to foster tumor growth. Her research uses a mouse model of ovarian cancer to find inhibitors to the metalloprotease-PAR1 pathway that would act as novel therapies for the disease.
Anika Agarwal, MD MPhil is an Instructor in the Department of Medicine and the Molecular Oncology Research Institute at Tufts University Medical Center. Her research interests are understanding tumor stromal interactions in ovarian tumor microenvironment that promote angiogenesis, ascites and peritoneal spread, and also to identifying target receptors to develop therapeutic strategies for complementing current treatment regimens in ovarian cancer. She received her clinical training at the Institute of Medical Science, BHU, Varanasi, India, and received her MPhil in Reproductive Biology from the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. In addition to her 2008 Liz Tilberis Award from OCRF, she is the winner of the Endocine Society’s 2002 Women in Endocrine Travel Award, and the 2004 Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Aventis Young Investigator travel Award.