Dr. Angela Brodie’s groundbreaking work produced new drugs to treat breast cancer
Angela Hartley Brodie, Ph.D.
University of Maryland cancer researcher Angela Hartley Brodie, Ph.D., has won the prestigious Dorothy P. Landon-AACR Prize for Translational Cancer Research for her groundbreaking work in developing aromatase inhibitors, a new class of breast cancer drugs.
Dr. Brodie, professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and an internationally recognized researcher at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, will receive the award on April 3, 2006, in Washington, D.C.
The $200,000 prize is one of two offered each year by the Kirk A. and Dorothy P. Landon Foundation and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The prizes are the largest awarded to cancer researchers by a professional society of their peers.
"Dr. Brodie's research has produced a major breakthrough in the treatment of breast cancer and is an exquisite example of how discoveries in the laboratory can be effectively translated to the clinic for the benefit of cancer patients," says AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.). "We are very pleased to be presenting this prize for translational research to such an outstanding and deserving scientist."
"I am very honored to have been selected to receive this award," says Dr. Brodie. "It took 30 years to develop this new way to fight breast cancer, and I am gratified that our work is now helping women with this disease live longer, more productive lives."
This is the second major cancer research award for Dr. Brodie in less than a year. In June 2005, she received the prestigious Charles F. Kettering Prize from the General Motors Cancer Research Awards. The international prize recognizes the most recent contribution to the diagnosis or treatment of cancer. Dr. Brodie was the first woman to receive the $250,000 award.
Aromatase inhibitors help to prevent recurrence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women by reducing the level of estrogen in the body, thereby cutting off the fuel that promotes the growth of cancer cells. The drugs are proving to be significantly more effective than the standard breast cancer drug, tamoxifen, which stops working after five years.
Dr. Brodie began developing this novel approach of targeting the enzyme aromatase to inhibit the synthesis of estrogen in the early 1970s, initially working with her husband, Harry Brodie, Ph.D., a chemist. She went on to develop formestane, the first aromatase inhibitor to be used to treat breast cancer patients. Released for worldwide use in 1994, it was the first new agent in a decade designed to treat breast cancer. Her work paved the way for the development of other aromatase inhibitors, which are now prescribed for women around the world.
Donald E. Wilson, M.D., M.A.C.P., Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and Dean of the School of Medicine, says, "We congratulate Angela Brodie on winning this most-deserved Landon-AACR Prize. A longtime member of our faculty, Dr. Brodie epitomizes the scholar scientist whose work not only addresses fundamental biological issues but also translates into improving the lives of patients with cancer."
"Dr. Brodie's pioneering work in developing aromatase inhibitors represents a major scientific achievement that has helped to save thousands of lives worldwide," says Kevin J. Cullen, M.D., director of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "This new class of drugs represents arguably the most important advance in the treatment of breast cancer in recent years.
"Dr. Brodie has expanded her research into prostate cancer and is now developing steroidal compounds that target key enzymes in the production of androgens, or male hormones, which play a role in recurrence of the cancer. She has received numerous other awards, including the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 2000, and has published nearly 200 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
The Landon-AACR Prizes for Basic and Translational Research were launched in 2002 to promote, recognize and reward seminal contributions to our understanding of cancer through basic and translational research. The AACR is a professional society of more than 24,000 laboratory, translational and clinical scientists in the United States and more than 60 other countries. The Kirk A. and Dorothy P. Landon Foundation was created through a bequest from Mrs. Landon who willed that her estate be committed to medical research, especially research of cancer and cancer-related diseases. The winner of this year's Kirk A. Landon-AACR Prize for Basic Research is Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D., a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.