Dr. Petrik’s research interests include female reproductive biology and ovarian cancer. Dr. Petrik’s lab is focusing on developing novel therapeutics for treatment of late stage ovarian cancer. Specifically focusing on anti angiogenic therapies for remodel tumor vasculature to enhance the uptake and efficacy of a variety of therapies.
In our laboratory, we generate unique animal models to study reproductive function and to model late-stage ovarian cancer. The ovary is an endogenously regenerative organ, which makes it an ideal model to study numerous aspects of vascular and tissue remodelling and regeneration. It is one of the only tissues in the adult body that undergoes cyclical angiogenesis, tissue degeneration, and cellular regeneration.
We have a collaborative project with researchers at Harvard University to treat our animal model of advanced stage ovarian cancer with anti-angiogenic peptides. These peptides reduce the presence of abnormal tumor blood vessels, and leave healthy, mature vessels intact. As a result of this vessel normalization, we are able to improve vascular perfusion of the tumor and enhance delivery of chemotherapy drugs, oncolytic viruses, etc.
Our laboratory is also interested in identify the impact of the mevalonate pathway on metastatic disease. We have shown that upregulation of the mevalonate pathway is important in facilitating migration and survival of metastatic ovarian cancer cells. Inhibition of this pathway significantly impairs the ability of the metastatic cancer cells migrate within the abdomen and to initiate tumorigenic mechanisms.
Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences