2013 Program Project Development Grant Recipient – Anil Sood

Anil Sood, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Power of Platelets in Ovarian Cancer

Co-Investigators
Vahid Afshar-Kharghan, MD
MD Anderson Cancer Center

Wah Chiu, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine

Project Summary

High platelets are particularly prevalent in women with epithelial ovarian cancer since almost 1 in 3 patients present with high platelets at diagnosis. We have recently reported that high platelets are associated with advanced disease and shortened survival in women with ovarian cancer and uncovered a tumor-driven paracrine circuit that actuates this process (Stone et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 2012). Since this discovery, we have generated substantial preliminary data that platelets directly traffic in the tumor microenvironment, providing abundant opportunities for direct tumor-platelet interactions.

On the basis of these and additional preliminary data, our overall hypotheses are: 1) platelets play pivotal roles in adaptive/evasive responses to therapy in ovarian cancer; 2) platelet ultrastructure can distinguish patients with ovarian cancer from those with benign disease or normal subjects. These hypotheses will be tested under the following three projects: 1) Platelet mediated adaptation in tumor microenvironment following anti-VEGF therapy; 2) Mechanisms of chemoprotective effects of platelets on ovarian cancer cells; 3) Ultrastructure of platelets in ovarian cancer. This project represents a highly coordinated, hypothesis-driven, multi-disciplinary effort that is highly translational and has enormous implications for ovarian cancer detection and treatment.

Bio

Dr. Anil K. Sood is Professor and Vice Chair for Translational Research in the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology and co-director of the Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He is also Director of the multi-disciplinary Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program. His research is focused in three main areas: 1) mechanisms of ovarian cancer angiogenesis and metastasis, 2) effect of neuroendocrine stress hormones on ovarian cancer growth and progression, and 3) development of new strategies for in vivo siRNA delivery. On the basis of novel observations regarding the role of paraneoplastic thrombocytosis in ovarian cancer, his current proposal focuses on the role of platelets in resistance to anti-VEGF and chemotherapy drugs. Moreover, his team is examining ultrastructural alterations in platelets in the context of drug response.

Dr. Sood received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After completing a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Florida at Gainesville, he completed a Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Iowa. He has received major recognition for research accomplishments including the Hunter Award, the Margaret Greenfield/Carmel Cohen Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Prize, and the GCF/Claudia Cohen Research Foundation Prize for Outstanding Gynecologic Cancer Researcher. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).