Elizabeth Harmon Stover, MD, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Genomic analysis of plasma cell-free tumor DNA to evaluate clinical mechanisms of drug resistance in ovarian cancer
Many ovarian cancers are able to resist drug treatment and therefore recur after months or years, posing a major challenge for clinicians and researchers. Currently research of resistant tumors is limited because biopsies are rarely collected from patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, making it difficult to study changes in the DNA that may cause resistance. Dr. Stover will use new technology to extract tumor DNA that is circulating in the patient from blood samples. By studying the DNA from new tumors and comparing it to DNA from recurring cancers, Dr. Stover will be able to find mutations that differ between the two, leading to important understanding of how the tumor is able to return. Furthermore, this technique will allow Dr. Stover to observe how mutations change over time in the same patient, potentially altering to confer drug resistance. Overall, this work will lead to the discovery of mechanisms by which ovarian cancers become resistant to treatment, a key step to finding essential new therapies to overcome resistance.