Angela Brodie, PhD, Remembered as Trailblazer in her Quest to Develop New Class of Drugs to Treat Breast Cancer
University of Maryland Researcher Recognized as Role Model for Scientists Who Study Endocrinology, Especially Female Scientists
Angela H. Brodie, PhD, is remembered in a recent article in Endocrine News for her grit and determination in pioneering the development of aromatase inhibitors, a class of breast cancer drugs now widely used to treat postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
"Through a respectful and gentle personality, she demonstrated tenacity in her determination to pioneer selective AIs because, "women deserved better," wrote V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., in paying tribute to his late friend and former colleague. He noted that Dr. Brodie first began searching for ways to stop the production of estrogen in the body, thereby cutting off fuel to the cancer, to spare women life-altering surgery to remove their breast.
An internationally recognized scientist at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Brodie died June 7, 2017 of complications of Parkinson's disease and pancreatic cancer at the age of 82. She was also a professor of pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Jordan worked with Dr. Brodie and her husband, Harry, at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology in Worcester, Mass., in the early 1970s. While the Brodies developed an early aromatase inhibitor, formestane, Dr. Jordan, who is now at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, went on to explore estrogen-blocking tamoxifen to treat breast cancer.
In the article, Dr. Jordan detailed the many obstacles that Dr. Brodie faced in getting anyone to pay attention to her research. "In the 1960s and 1970s, cancer research was focused primarily on the causes of cancer or carcinogenesis," he wrote. "The medical community had virtually no interest in endocrine treatments for breast cancer as all hopes for cancer cure were focused on cytotoxic chemotherapy."
In recognition of the Brodies' achievements, the University of Maryland School of Medicine has announced the creation of the Angela and Harry Brodie Distinguished Professorship in Translational Cancer Research. Learn how you can help support the next generation of breast cancer research.