Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two part article about Dr. Barua’s research. Read Part I of Dr. Barua’s Research Q&A.
Dr. Barua is an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. One of his major research goals is to enhance the resolution of traditional ultrasound imaging to improve the detection of ovarian cancer in early stages. Dr. Barua credits the Foundation with helping him work towards this goal and “to establish [his] career in the field.”
Q3. How did receiving a Prevent Cancer Foundation grant impact your research?
The grant from the Prevent Cancer Foundation funded the first systematic study to establish a combined method of non-invasive imaging and blood testing for the detection of early-stage ovarian tumor-related blood vessels. The study showed that contrast -enhanced TVUS imaging in association with serum levels of the protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)can detect OVCA at early stages. Having shown that a contrast agent can enhance the visualization of ovarian tumor-related vascular network to detect early-stage OVCA, we have demonstrated the feasibility of a clinical study to establish an early-detection test based on serum VEGF levels and contrast-enhanced TVUS imaging.
The information generated from the project funded by the Foundation helped me to obtain further funding from federal agencies including National Cancer Institute and the Department of Defense). With this additional funding, I am now continuing the work to establish contrast-enhanced targeted TVUS imaging for the detection of ovarian tumors directly in a non-invasive method.
Q4. Why it is important to fund research in the field of cancer prevention and early detection?
Cancer is a chronic disease which takes life prematurely and also reduces its quality. Strengthening ways to prevent cancer or detect it early helps to reduce the number of people affected by the disease. For OVCA as well as other cancers, it is essential that we understand the mechanisms of early disease so that we can effectively detect it early. Accomplishing this will take continued funding of prevention and early detection research.