Sarah Adams, MD

Sarah Adams, MD

Faculty Titles
Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology

UNM Cancer Center Position(s)
Associate Director, Translational Research

The Victor and Ruby Hansen Surface Endowed Professor in Ovarian Cancer Research

Cancer Specialty
Gynecologic Oncologist

Multidisciplinary Team
Gynecologic Cancers

Research Program
Cancer Therapeutics: Technology, Discovery and Targeted Delivery

Medical School
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (2001)

University of Chicago Hospitals (2005)
Specialty in Obstetrics and Gynecology

University of Chicago Hospitals (2005)
Specialty in Obstetrics and Gynecology

University of Pennsylvania Hospitals (2009)
Specialty in Gynecologic Oncology

Board Certification
Gynecologic Oncology (2014)
Obstetrics and Gynecology (2009)

Personal Statement
I am a gynecologic oncologist with a 65% FTE research appointment. I head a lab focused on tumor immunology and the development of novel treatment strategies for ovarian cancer. We have demonstrated that PARP-inhibition synergizes with immune checkpoint blockade in syngeneic ovarian cancer models. This work additionally identified cell-intrinsic mechanisms of therapeutic synergy, confirmed the induction of protective immunologic memory, and defined novel immunologic endpoints correlating with treatment efficacy and long-term survival. Based on the success of this regimen in preclinical studies, we launched an investigator-initiated clinical trial in 2016: INST1419: A phase I/II study of the combination of olaparib and tremelimumab in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with recurrent ovarian cancer, (NCT02571725, PI: S. Adams). With early results demonstrating evidence of treatment response among heavily pre-treated patients, this trial has been expanded to three additional NCI Cancer Centers through the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN). In addition, our randomized phase II NRG concept, OV1821: A randomized phase II trial of olaparib + tremelimumab vs. olaparib in platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer (PI: S. Adams) has been approved for development by the NCI and CTEP. Based on recent data from our lab detailing phenotypic and functional changes in local leukocyte populations following tumor engraftment in cancer models and patients, and specifically the identification of tumor-associated dendritic cell subsets with divergent T cell stimulatory capacity, ongoing work is focused on therapeutically targeting resident lymphocyte populations to restrict cancer recurrence. INST1509: Prospective laboratory study of cancer and immune cells in the ascites fluid of ovarian cancer patients to test alternative therapies (PI: S. Adams) permits the ongoing collection of ascites fluid from women undergoing surgery for ovarian cancer, providing us with samples of tumor-associated leukocytes from patients to validate results from murine studies and facilitate clinical translation of our results. For this proposal, we will collaborate with Rita Serda, PhD, a nanotechnology and materials science expert focused on the application of bioengineering to the design of immunotherapeutics. Our role in this project will be to test the immunomodulatory and therapeutic potential of an innovative cellular vaccine comprised of silicified tumor cells in immune-competent cancer models and in cells collected from women with ovarian cancer. Based on our combined expertise in the design, testing and translation of novel therapeutic strategies we are well-positioned to perform the studies outlined in this proposal.