Kaitlin Fogg, PhD
University of Wisconsin
The Influence of Macrophages on the Expansion of Ovarian Cancer Metastases
Ovarian tumors metastasize or spread by cells detaching from the primary tumor and implanting on nearby organs such as the omentum, an apron-like membrane that insulates the abdominal organs. The factors that lead to the metastases of ovarian tumors are still largely unknown. However, immune cells called macrophages multiply in the fluid around the abdominal cavity as the cancer progresses. Dr. Fogg will investigate how these immune cells promote tumor metastasis and subsequent thickening of the omentum. Using a combination of ovarian cancer cells, macrophages, and abdominal tissue, Dr. Fogg will construct a much needed 3-D model mimicking the environment of the abdominal cavity in a woman with ovarian cancer before metastasis. She will use a statistical model to determine how the macrophages stimulate the tumor cells to start spreading and then change the surrounding tissue to accommodate the implanting tumor. These findings will provide a window into how ovarian cancer spreads and may help identify new treatment strategies to prevent or delay the process.