Getting to Know Ann Klopp, MD, PhD
Ann Klopp has always been a “research person,” who also enjoys face-to-face patient care. Today, she conducts translational research, lab studies which are designed with a goal of improving clinical treatments.
A radiation oncologist, Dr. Klopp and her team study how obesity influences stem cells in abdominal/visceral fat, tracking how these cells migrate into tumors, form supporting stroma and drive cancerous tumor growth in heavier patients. She has focused both her research and clinical work on women’s health, in particular, endometrial, ovarian and cervical cancer. “Today, we’re much closer to learning how obesity impacts the development and recurrence of gynecologic cancer,” she explains.
Dr. Klopp isolates visceral adipose stem cells from the omentum, and compares these cells to stem cells from other tissue sources to see how these cells can promote endometrial and ovarian cancer. “We’ve discovered that visceral adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) promote the growth of endometrial cancer,” she explains. “We are able to see differences in stem cells from mice which are fed a high-fat diet, vs. a low-fat diet, and we are investigating how ASC drive tumor growth in obesity. We are isolating stem cells from both obese and thin patients to learn more about how obesity alters stem cells in patients.”
Dr. Klopp and her team use unique software for measuring the volume of visceral adipose in ovarian cancer patients. The technology is able to distinguish fat tissues from fluid, soft tissue, gas and bone in order to develop a highly accurate measure of visceral adipose. “In the short-term, we hope to determine whether obesity impacts outcome in endometrial and ovarian cancer, and in the long-term, we hope to understand exactly how this happens,” she explains. Research-wise, Dr. Klopp is interested in collaborating with others who are studying the prognostic effects of visceral adiposity and mechanisms by which obesity promotes cancer progression. Clinically, Dr. Klopp is also interested in the management of advanced endometrial cancers and the use of advanced radiation techniques to minimize toxicity.
Dr. Klopp, a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Medical College of Wisconsin, earned her MD and PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Biology. In addition to her research and clinical work, she serves as a moderator for The Center for Energy Balance Journal Club and enjoys mentoring trainees in both clinical and translational research. A native of Milwaukee, she is married with three young children, and enjoys swimming, traveling and reading in her spare time. Dr. Klopp arrived in Houston eight years ago to do her residency, and “never left.” “I feel fortunate that the work I do in research and clinical oncology is both intriguing and gratifying,” she claims. Which is lucky for us all, indeed.
Omental adipose tissue-derived stromal cells promote vascularization and growth of endometrial tumors.
Klopp AH, Zhang Y, Solley T, Amaya-Manzanares F, Marini F, Andreeff M, Debeb B, Woodward W, Schmandt R, Broaddus R, Lu K, Kolonin MG.
Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Feb 1;18(3):771-82.
Concise review: Dissecting a discrepancy in the literature: do mesenchymal stem cells support or suppress tumor growth?
Klopp AH, Gupta A, Spaeth E, Andreeff M, Marini F 3rd.
Stem Cells. 2011 Jan;29(1):11-9. doi: 10.1002/stem.559. Review.
Mesenchymal stem cells promote mammosphere formation and decrease E-cadherin in normal and malignant breast cells.
Klopp AH, Lacerda L, Gupta A, Debeb BG, Solley T, Li L, Spaeth E, Xu W, Zhang X, Lewis MT, Reuben JM, Krishnamurthy S, Ferrari M, Gaspar R, Buchholz TA, Cristofanilli M, Marini F, Andreeff M, Woodward WA.