January 6, 2021

Aparna R. Parikh, MD

I am a specialist in gastrointestinal malignancies at the MGH Cancer Center. After completing my training in internal medicine at MGH, I went on to complete my oncology fellowship at UCSF. I saw patients and retained teaching responsibilities at the UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center while pursuing post-doctoral training in outcomes research at Genentech/Roche. After a few months of a post-doctoral role,
I was recruited as a medical director in the Medical Affairs organization, where I led the gastric cancer and hepatocellular cancer strategy and co-led the colorectal cancer strategy. I was involved with both targeted therapy and cancer immunotherapy and was part of development teams for pertuzumab, TDM1, and atezolizumab in gastrointestinal cancers. While at Genentech, I also leveraged large databases to pursue several non-interventional studies using real-world data sources to answer clinical questions relevant to patient outcomes. I also served as the clinical lead for several quality of care delivery projects that
Genentech was leading. Given my ability to navigate a complex, large company and leverage cross-functional collaborations towards the common goal of doing now, what patients need next, I was given the outstanding collaborator award. I also gained increasing responsibility not only within GI but in leading efforts in cancers outside of my clinical expertise, such as prostate cancer. Despite a meaningful career at Genentech, I still wanted to pursue academic medicine.

I joined the faculty at MGH in September 2016. My clinical interests and expertise revolve around the practice of gastrointestinal malignancies. Since joining the faculty, I have been actively involved in clinical work, providing treatment for patients afflicted with gastrointestinal malignancies as well as provided care on the general oncology inpatient service as well as oncology services. I receive referrals from colleagues locally, regionally, and nationally. I also care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer that are in search of Phase I clinical trials and receive referrals for Phase 1 patients routinely.
I have been conducting clinical and translational research on the use of liquid biopsies in gastrointestinal cancers and their prospective role in post-operative disease monitoring as a method to understand drug resistance and treatment response. I have received funding from the American Cancer Society and the DF/HCC GI NIH SPORE for this work. I have presented this work at several national and international meetings and have a high impact paper currently published in Nature Medicine. I lead the liquid biopsy program on the clinical front in the gastrointestinal center and am now the PI of a multi-center (7) National Stand Up 2 Cancer circulating tumor DNA-guided trial in Stage III colon cancer. I am also a lead Phase I investigator for the GI group and run several industry-sponsored clinical trials of which I am the PI. I also lead 3 investigator-initiated studies (IST). We have submitted our data from one of the ISTs looking at the role of a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor for therapeutic potential in colorectal cancer to Science and this is under review. My other ISTs involve using immunotherapy in combination with radiation in pancreatic and colorectal cancer, and I have presented data from these trials at several national meetings. A complementary research interest has been improving healthcare outcomes and delivery in the developing world. During the fellowship, after working on palliative care protocols for providers caring for cancer patients
in low-income countries; I submitted a grant with collaborators at Cornell Tech piloting a novel mobile Health platform for pain control for cancer patients in rural India. We then developed this app in Rwanda with colleagues in Rwanda and the app is being used for clinical care at the Rwandan Palliative Care and Hospice Organization and extends the delivery of healthcare to a wider underserved population. I also volunteered with the organization Global Oncology, serving as a clinical expert for patient care in low-income settings and supported grant writing activities that funded the development of education materials for cancer patients. Most recently, I have co-founded a program called POETIC, which is in its 2 nd year, hosting Sub-Saharan African Oncologists (up to 8 a year) for training in Boston. Our experience from the first cohort has recently been published in The Oncologist.