Dr. Chow is Research Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona. She is a translational scientist involved in early phase clinical development of cancer chemopreventive agents and development of biochemical and molecular biomarkers for evaluation of cancer risk and drug efficacy. She has been a member of the University of Arizona Cancer (UACC) Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) Program and been continuously funded for cancer-related research since 1998.
Dr. Chow has co-directed the UACC Analytical Chemistry Shared Resource (ACSR) since 2001 and co-led for the CPC Program since 2015. She is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the University of Arizona Early Phase Chemoprevention Consortium. The UA consortium is one of only five awardees selected by NCI, Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) to conduct early phase clinical trials of NCI, DCP-sponsored chemopreventive agents. The Consortium consists of a team of clinicians and translational researchers from the University of Arizona and other member institutions, including Stanford, Emory, University of North Carolina, Ohio State University, University of Southern California, University of California Irvine, University of California San Diego, Cedars Sinai, Johns Hopkins, NRG, and Southern Arizona VA health Care System. The completed and planned consortia trials encompass evaluation of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical agents for lung, breast, cervix, prostate, melanoma, skin and esophageal cancer prevention. For the development and performance of each of these trials, she has facilitated the collaboration and coordinated the interactions among clinicians, translational scientists, and NCI, DCP program staff. She has also served as the PI for grants funded by NCI and DOD to study the clinical activity of limonene and metformin for breast cancer prevention.
Dr. Chow also serves as Co-Investigator on multiple federally-funded research projects in cancer prevention or treatment. She is the co-author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles published in major Cancer journals. In addition, she has been involved in the development of chromatography-mass spectrometry assays for various drugs, nutrients, bioactive food components, and endogenous biochemicals in various biological specimens. Recently, she has applied comprehensive metabolic profiling to specimens collected from our chemoprevention trials to examine the mechanisms of action of putative chemopreventive agents and to discover new biomarkers for future studies.
Dr. Chow has mentored dozens of graduate students, medical students, research fellows, and junior faculty in cancer chemoprevention and analytical chemistry methods, served on the advisory board for the Cancer Prevention and Control R25T training grant and led several funded projects that engaged novel groups of inter- and intra-programmatic faculty.
Dr Chow’s current research focuses on early phase clinical development of potential cancer chemopreventive agents and development of biochemical and molecular biomarkers for evaluation of cancer risk and drug efficacy.
One of Dr. Chow’s key research areas is clinical development of breast cancer preventive agents. Recent success in disease reduction among high-risk women with selective estrogen receptor modulator and aromatase inhibitors has confirmed that breast cancer can be clinically targeted with chemopreventive agents prior to detectable disease. However, adoption of these agents in risk reduction for breast cancer in clinical practice for generally healthy women is still limited, because of the side effects associated with these agents. In addition, developing preventive agents with a broader spectrum of activity including action against ER-negative breast cancer remains a pressing issue. To address these issues, she has led early phase clinical trials to evaluate the potentials of novel nutraceutical agents such as limonene and resveratrol for breast cancer prevention and is currently conducting a clinical trial to assess the potentials of metformin, a diabetic medication, for breast cancer prevention.
In addition, Dr. Chow is leading an NCI/DCP funded Early Phase Chemoprevention Consortium consisting of basic, translational, and clinical investigators to conduct early phase clinical studies to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, clinical activity, and biological effects of various pharmaceutical and nutraceutical agents. This type of investigation is critically important in selecting the appropriate agent, dose, dosing schedule, and cohort for further clinical investigation of putative chemopreventive agents. The findings from these trials also provided scientific insights into the mechanisms of cancer prevention by the agents studied and facilitated the development novel potential markers as determinants of response.
Dr. Chow has also been involved in measurements of endogenous biochemicals as biomarkers for risk and efficacy evaluation in multiple chemoprevention trials. Surrogate endpoint biomarkers offer greater efficiency in clinical studies because they may allow for the generation of useful results from clinical studies that are of shorter duration using smaller numbers of study participants to evaluate the potentials of agents for cancer prevention. Recently, she has been involved in the application of metabolomics analysis to chemoprevention trials to identify metabolic features as markers of cancer risk and to facilitate the understanding of the mechanism of chemopreventive activities. This line of research is expected to help identify phenotypic biomarkers to achieve the goal of personalized prevention.