Adams Lab

Principal Investigator

Sarah Adams, MD

Sarah Adams, MD

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

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

On This Page:

Research Focus
Contact Information
Lab members
Publications
Conferences and Symposia
Helpful Links

Research Focus

Ovarian cancer is associated with a poor prognosis that hasn't changed significantly in several decades.  Our lab is focused on tumor immunology and the development of novel treatment strategies for ovarian cancer. We recently demonstrated that PARP inhibition synergizes with CTLA4 immune checkpoint blockade in BRCA1 deficient ovarian cancer models. This work additionally identified cell-intrinsic mechanisms of therapeutic synergy, confirmed the induction of protective immune memory, and defined novel immunologic endpoints correlating with treatment efficacy and long-term survival. Based on the success of this regimen in preclinical models, 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, S. Adams, Principal Investigator).  This trial was expanded to three additional NCI Cancer Centers in 2018 and completed enrollment in 2020.  In 2019, a second trial was launched in collaboration with the NRG Ovarian Committee to test whether this combination is active in a larger cohort of patients and to isolate the contribution of the immune agent.  NRG-GY021: A randomized phase II trial of olaparib + tremelimumab vs. olaparib in platinum-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer (NCT04034927, National Study Chair:  S. Adams). This study is one of the first NRG studies selected by CIMAC (Cancer Immune Monitoring Analysis Centers – one of the Cancer Moonshot initiatives) to perform concurrent comprehensive integrated translational analyses. The translation of our work to clinical testing has spurred ongoing mechanistic studies in the lab focused on understanding tumor-tumor microenvironment interactions that modulate the efficacy of tumor-directed agents.

Contact Information

Cancer Research Facility 223
University of New Mexico
915 Camino de Salud NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Members of the Adams Lab

Lab Members

Ichiko Kinjo Mrass, MD, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor with extensive expertise in immunology, including T cell fate mapping, cytokine signaling, tumor immunotherapy, immunomodulation, and metastatic engraftment. She joined the lab in August 2017 and is overseeing studies designed to dissect the mechanisms responsible for the observed therapeutic synergy of PARP-inhibition and immune checkpoint blockade.

Jaryse Harris, MD student. Jaryse is a medical student and joined the lab as a research technician in 2013. She has extensive experience using mouse models to conduct in vivo experiments. She started medical school in 2016 but has continued to come back the lab and is currently investigating how dosing schedules impact the efficacy of combined PARP-inhibition and immune checkpoint blockade.

Daniel Falcon, PhD. Daniel is a postdoctoral fellow in the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award – Academic Science Education & Research Training (IRACDA-ASERT) program. Daniel has expertise in immunoregulatory pathways and autoimmunity.  He is spearheading work investigating how regulatory T cell subsets determine response to immune therapy regimens, and how this is modulated by conditions in the tumor microenvironment.

Chelsea Gregory-Goff, BA. Chelsea is a research technician with extensive experience in the use of murine models for in vivo studies. She joined the lab in 2019 and is the point-person for all mouse experiments as well as ongoing clinical protocols for the collection and use of patient samples.

Former Lab Members

  • Sharina Palencia Desai, PhD
  • Henning DeMay

Publications

Recent publications

  1. Guo J, DeMay H, Franco S, Noureddine A, Tang L, Brinker CJ, Kusewitt DF, Adams SF*, Serda RE*. Creating personalized cancer vaccines through cell biomineralization.  in review, November 2020.
  2. Adams SF, Grimm AJ, Chiang CL-L, et al.  Rapid tumor vaccine using Toll-like receptor-activated ovarian cancer ascites monocytes.  Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cacner 2020; 8:e00875. Doi:10.1136/jitc-2020-000875.
  3. Ray AL, Nofchissey RA, Kahn MA, Reidy MA, Lerner MR, Wu W, Guo S, Hill SL, Weygant N, Adams SF, Castillo EF, Berry WL, Stout MB and Morris KT.  The role of sex in the innate and adaptive immune environment of metastatic colorectal cancer.  Br J Cancer 26 May 2020; 162; doi.org/10.1038/s4146-020-0913-8.
  4. Hudson LG, Cook LS, Grimes MM, Muller CY, Adams SF, Wandinger-Ness A.  Dual actions of ketorolac in metastatic ovarian cancer.  Cancers 2019, 11, 1049; doi 10.3390.
  5. Flies DB, Higuchi T, Harris JC, Jha V, Gimotty PA, Adams SF Immune checkpoint blockade reveals the stimulatory capacity of tumor-associated CD103+ dendritic cells in late-stage ovarian cancer.  OncoImmunology, DOI:10.1080/2162402X.2016.1185583.
  6. Higuchi T, Flies DB, Marjon NA, Mantia-Smaldone G, Ronner L, Gimotty PA, Adams S CTLA-4 blockade synergizes therapeutically with PARP-inhibition in BCA1-deficient ovarian cancer.  Cancer Immunol Res 2015 Nov; 3(11): 1257-68.
  7. Flies DB, Higuchi T, Harris JC, Jha V, Gimotty PA, Adams SF Immune checkpoint blockade reveals the stimulatory capacity of tumor-associated CD103+ dendritic cells in late-stage ovarian cancer. OncoImmunology, DOI:10.1080/2162402X.2016.1185583
  8. Higuchi T, Flies DB, Marjon NA, Mantia-Smaldone G, Ronner L, Gimotty PA, Adams S CTLA-4 blockade synergizes therapeutically with PARP-inhibition in BCA1-deficient ovarian cancer. Cancer Immunol Res 2015 Nov; 3(11): 1257-68.
  9. Guo Y, Kenney SR, Muller CY, Adams S, Rutledge T, Romero E, Murray-Krezan C, Prekeris R, Sklar LA, Hudson LG and Wandinger-Ness A. R-ketorolac targets Cdc42 and Rac1 and alters ovarian cancer cell behaviors critical for invasion and metastasis. Mol Cancer Ther 2015 Oct; 14(10): 2215-27.
  10. Guo Y, Kenney SR, Cook L, Adams SF, Rutledge T, Romero E, Oprea TI, Bedrick E, Wiggins CL, Kang H, Lomo L, Muller CY, Wandinger-Ness A, Hudson LG. A novel pharmacologic activity of ketorolac for therapeutic benefit in ovarian cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Nov 15; 21(22): 5064-72.
  11. Adams SF, Benencia F. Immunotherapy for ovarian cancer: what are the targets of the future? Future Oncol. 11(9):1293-6.
  12. Mantia-Smaldone G, Ronner L, Blair A, Gamerman V, Morse C, Orsulic S, Rubin S, Gimotty P, Adams S. The immunomodulatory effects of pegylated liposomal doxorubicin are amplified in BRCA1-deficient ovarian tumors and can be exploited to improve treatment response in a mouse model. Gynecologic Oncology. 133(3): 584-90, 2014 June.

Conferences and Symposia

Presentations

  1. “Context Matters:  Optimizing Treatment for Ovarian Cancer”  University of Iowa Cancer Center Translational Science Research Program, November 6, 2020
  2. “Olaparib and Tremelimumab for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer”, AstraZeneca Externally Sponsored Research Symposium, Washington, DC, November 7, 2019.
  3. “Updates in Gynecologic Cancer Treatment”, invited speaker, Gynecologic Cancer Assistance Program Seminar, October 19, 2019.
  4. Translating Lab Results to Clinical Trials”, Cancer Therapeutics and Oncology Grand Rounds, University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center, September 20, 2019.
  5. “Context Matters:  Optimizing Treatment for Ovarian Cancer” 2019 Herbst Lecture, University of Chicago May 31, 2019
  6. “When Cancer Comes Back”, invited speaker, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance National Meeting, Washington DC  July 14, 2018
  7. “Advances in ovarian cancer research”, invited speaker, Phi Beta Psi Sorority Foundation Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM July 17, 20
  8. “Recurrent ovarian cancer”, invited speaker, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance National Meeting, Chicago, IL, July 7, 2017
  9. “Management of recurrent ovarian cancer”, Webinar for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, November 28, 2016; over 400 participants. https://ocrfa.org/patients/resources/webinars/
  10. “New treatment strategies for ovarian cancer”, keynote speaker, American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Los Alamos, New Mexico.  August 19, 2016
  11. “When ovarian cancer comes back”, Invited speaker, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance National Meeting, Washington DC, July 9, 2016
  12. "Immunotherapy for Ovarian Cancer” Invited speaker, Winter Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, Lake Tahoe, CA, February 11, 2016
  13. “Future Directions for Immune Therapy of Gynecologic Cancers”, Invited speaker, Winter Meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, Lake Tahoe, CA, February 11, 2016

Meeting Abstracts

  1. Falcon D, Miller M, Kinjo I, Gregory C, Adams S.  Estrogen deprivation influences the activation and polarization status of tumor-infiltrating T cells in a mouse model of ovarian cancer.  Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting, November 6, 2020
  2. Randall L, et al, MOONSTONE/GOG3032:  A phase 2, open label, single-arm study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of niraparib and dostarlimab in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.  EMSO Virtual Congress 2020.
  3. Miller M, Adams SF Assessing the impact of immune therapy in the setting of PARP inhibitor resistance.  Plenary talk, Western Association of Gynecologic Oncologists Annual Meeting, June 2020.
  4. Kinjo I, Adams SF. PARP inhibition interacts with IFNg in the ovarian tumor microenvironment to promote immunogenic cell death.  AACR Annual Meeting, June 2020.
  5. Serda R, DeMay H, Gou J, Franco S, Kusewitt D, Adams S Creating personalized cancer vaccines through cell biomineralization.  Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Meeting, November 2019.
  6. DeMay, H, Desai SP, Kinjyo I, Adams SF.  Enriching effector T cells in the peritoneal tumor microenvironment using the route of cisplatin administration (IV vs IP).  AACR Ovarian Cancer Conference, Orlando, Florida September 2019
  7. Kinjyo I, Adams SF PARP inhibition interacts with IFN-gamma in the ovarian tumor microenvironment to promote immunogenic cell death. Invited plenary session, Immunology of Human Diseases Symposium, New Mexico Consortium, Santa Fe July 30 2019.
  8. Desai SP, Bahmani M, Kinjo I, DeMay H, Adams SF T cell trafficking within the peritoneal tumor environment and ovarian cancer progression.  Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists May 31, 2019 Chicago, IL
  9. DeMay H, Desai SP, Kinjo I, Adams SF CD49dhigh T cells in the ovarian cancer microenvironment are a potential target for the optimization of immune therapy in ovarian cancer.  American Society of Clinical Oncologists, May 31, 2019.
  10. Harris JC, Sethi A, Muller CY, Rutledge TL, Rixe O, Morris KT, Gimotty PA, Adams SF, “Correlation between prior surgery and immune related gastrointestinal toxicity among women receiving olaparib and tremelimumab for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer”.  Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting, Washington DC, November 2018
  11. Sahebjam S, Yap TA, Hong DS, Rao A, Adams S, Efuni S, Grebennik D, Healy D, Ogunmefun E, Liu Y, Tayama T, Rixe O.  KHK2455, a long-acting selective IDO-1 inhibitor in combination with mogamulizumab, an anti-CCR4 monoclonal antibody, in patients with advanced solid tumors:  preliminary safety report and phamacodynamic activity from a first-in-human study.  Poster presentation, Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer,  Washington DC, November 8, 2017.
  12. S Adams, O Rixe, J-H Lee, D McCance, S Westgate, S Eberhardt, T Rutledge, C Muller, “Phase I study combining olaparib and tremelimumab for the treatment of women with BRCA-deficient recurrent ovarian cancer” Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Chicago, IL June 3 2017.
  13. Flies D, Ornatowski W, Higuchi T, Adams SF.  IL-10 blockade sensitizes ovarian cancer to anti-PD-1 antibody therapy by editing tumor-associated leukocyte populations.  Poster presentation; Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting, Washington DC, November 9, 2016.

Helpful Links

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance has supported our work since 2011.  The mission of the OCFRA is to promote, advocate for and support scientific research as it relates to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure for ovarian cancer; to provide education about ovarian cancer; and to foster alliances to further those purposes.   https://ocrfa.org/

FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered:  The mission of FORCE is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers.