Dr. Sanaz Memarzadeh is a board certified gynecologic oncologist with over 13 years of active practice. She is an accomplished surgeon and is skilled in optimal cytoreduction, robotic surgery, and minimally invasive operations. Compassionate and adept, she specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all gynecologic pre-invasive and invasive diseases, including ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancer. She serves patients at UCLA and also serves women Veterans at the West Los Angeles VA hospital.
After the conclusion of her formal residency at the UCLA Medical Center, she continued at UCLA to complete a specialized three year fellowship training in gynecologic oncology. This fellowship is designed to meet the subspecialty requirements of the Gynecologic Oncology Division of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This fellowship has provided her with advanced surgical training for treatment of gynecologic cancers in addition to training in administration of chemotherapy and care for cancer patients.
But beyond surgery and execution of standard therapies, Dr. Memarzadeh is dedicated to finding new, more effective options for therapy for gynecologic cancer. During her training, she was struck by how therapies for gynecologic diseases had not made significant advancements in several years. Therefore, after completing her fellowship, she continued to complete a Ph.D. in the department of Molecular Biology at UCLA. Today, in addition to being a skilled surgeon, maintaining her practice, and caring for her patients, she is performing science research at UCLA, focusing on the molecular pathways of gynecologic cancers in the hopes of better understanding these diseases and developing new, more effective therapies to help her patients. This includes planning to implement clinical trials for patients with ovarian cancer and discovering predictors of response to hormonal therapy in endometrial tumors. On the forefront of translating Gynecologic cancer research to the therapy of patients, she has won multiple awards for her work, including the Reproductive Scientist Developmental Grant, the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation Grant, a Gynecologic Cancer Foundation award, and the STOP CANCER award. Dr. Memarzadeh has authored many published articles in respected journals and textbook chapters.
Furthermore, Dr. Memarzadeh is dedicated to teaching others, holding a tenured position as a Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She has received acknowledgements for her capability as a teacher including the APGO Excellence in Teaching Award. She takes a personal role in helping all those who work with her to learn as much as they can with the goal of advancing the field of women’s gynecologic cancer care. She is also the site director of the Gynecologic Oncology fellowship program at UCLA.
Dr. Memarzadeh currently maintains staff and operating room privileges at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center. She is readily available for consultations and is accepting new patients seeking care in all aspects of gynecologic cancer or pre-cancerous diseases. If you are interested in making an appointment, please call (310) 794-7274 or (310) 794-9098.
Research Location G.O. Discovery Lab, 3017 Terasaki Life Sciences Building 610 Charles E. Young Drive East Los Angeles, California 90095
Clinical: obgyn.ucla.edu Research: godiscoverylab.com
The goal at the G.O. Discovery Lab is to improve the way we treat patients with gynecologic diseases. As part of this goal, we are looking for effective and better tolerated therapies for these diseases, including serous ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.
One of our major projects is looking at new treatments for serous ovarian cancer. Ovarian tumors account for about 3% of all malignancies in women and serous tumors are the most common form of ovarian cancer. They are called "ovarian" because they are often found implanted on the surface of the ovary. However, recent work from our laboratory and other researchers suggests that serous tumor do not arise from the ovary, but actually may originate from cells lining the fallopian tube.
The standard of treatment for serous ovarian cancer is surgical removal of the tumor followed by chemotherapy. However, this is not always effective and many patients see relapse of a chemotherapy resistant tumor. The clinical behavior of this disease suggests that subsets of serous tumor cells must be resistant to existing therapies. These chemotherapy resistant tumor cells may acquire properties of stem cells and/or originate from normal stem cells. These cells comprise a small fraction of the serous tumor but are the cancer initiating cells (i.e. the mother tumor cells that give rise to the rest of the tumor). Given their resemblance to normal stem cells, they are called cancer stem cells.
In order to eradicate serous cancers, it is our goal to find a way to target the serous cancer stem cells either killing them directly or indirectly by introducing an agent to sensitize these serous cancer stem cells to standard treatments.
Our second project focuses on determining predictors of response of endometrial cancer, a form of uterine cancer and the most common gynecologic cancer in the U.S., to hormonal therapy. Endometrial cancer originates from the endometrium, a specialized and hormonally sensitive cell layer that lines the inside of the uterus. When the endometrium becomes abnormal the cells over grow inside the uterus leading to formation of hyperplasia (crowded abnormal cells) and ultimately cancer. While endometrial cancer is often curable if detected in early stages, the side-effects of current therapies (surgery, radiation and chemotherapy) can have life-long debilitating effects. Furthermore, these standard treatments may be ineffective in patients with later stages of endometrial cancer, where the disease has returned or spread to other organs. Currently, patients in their child-bearing years who would prefer to preserve their uterus often have no choice but to undergo a hysterectomy, destroying their fertility.
Hormonal therapy is an alternative treatment in endometrial cancer that could potentially avoid many negative side-effects of the current treatment regimens. But while hormonal treatment has been very successful in treating patients with breast and prostate cancer, it is not widely used in patients with endometrial cancer due to a lack of research in the field. Progesterone is easily administered, has few side-effects, is relatively inexpensive, and is available even to patients with limited access to health care. The progesterone hormone can be an effective treatment for up to 50% of patients with endometrial cancer. At the moment, physicians have no way to determine which endometrial tumors will respond to progesterone therapy, so treating a patient with progesterone is a lot like tossing a coin and trying to call "heads or tails". Doctors also do not understand exactly how progesterone cures endometrial tumors.
We aim to change this by developing a simple biopsy-based office test that can predict if a patient's endometrial cancer can be successfully treated with progesterone. We are also exploring ways to make progesterone resistant tumors respond to therapy.