Dr. Brody is the Director of Surgical Research and Co-director of the Jefferson Pancreas, Biliary, and Related Cancer Center. He is also the current Chair, Cancer Research Program (PRCRP), Department of Defense (Army) in Washington, D.C.
The main focus of Dr. Brody’s laboratory is to understand the molecular aspects of pancreatic cancer cells and find novel therapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancer patients.
During his over ten years of training at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Brody began exploring drug-target interactions. Utilizing diverse molecular biology techniques that include DNA sequencing, gene knockout, and silencing assays, and drug sensitivity assays, Dr. Brody has published extensively on aspects of chemotherapeutics, namely gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, and platinum-based agents. Part of this work includes his special interest in targeting cancer cells with defects in the BRCA2/Fanconi anemia DNA repair pathway.
His work also includes the advancement in the basic DNA detection technique of DNA electrophoresis, by discovering new and better alternatives to tris-based buffers, such as lithium-based buffers, that can separate DNA at a fraction of the time compared to conventionally used conductive media.
In regards to mRNA stability, Dr. Brody aided in cloning members of the pp32 gene family over a decade ago. Members of this family, pp32, and APRIL have been shown previously to be ligands and functionally interact with the RNA binding protein, HuR.
Currently, Dr. Brody’s work focuses on how HuR biology is involved in pancreatic tumorigenesis as well as cancer cell survival. His laboratory is also interested in how HuR expression levels and protein subcellular localization affects treatment of pancreatic cancer. Recently, the group published work showing that HuR subcellular localization is a valuable predictive marker for the standard of care (i.e., gemcitabine) for this disease. His laboratory’s work is now primarily focused on HuR biology as it relates to the clinical management of cancer, including identifying clinically relevant HuR targets.
Finally, Dr. Brody is continuing his research in studying drug-target relationships as he is the principal investigator on a 1 million dollar grant that supports an unprecedented clinical trial testing a molecular-based personalized approach to treating pancreatic cancer patients.