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'Moving Target Science:' Jonathan Brody on Pancreatic Cancer

Guest:

Jonathan Brody, Assoc Professor of Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University

Bio and Contact Info

Listen (8:17) BRCA testing being used for pancreatic cancer as well

Listen (3:31) The Tennis Ball Bucket Challenge

Listen (6:25) Moving target science

Listen (7:23) A seamless infrastructure

Listen (5:03) Patient consent

Look for Jonathan Brody, a scientist at Thomas Jefferson University, on Google, and you’ll likely find a picture of doctors having buckets of tennis balls dropped on their heads.

Based obviously on viral “Ice Bucket Challenge,” the “Tennis Ball Bucket Challenge” was a way for Jonathan and his colleagues to bring awareness to the lack of funding for pancreatic cancer. Though the outlook for pancreatic cancer patients is much bleaker than for those with breast or prostate cancer, funding into pancreatic cancer research is much lower. Jonathan makes sense of the connection.

“Patients [with pancreatic cancer] just have time to get angry and put up a fight. They don’t have time like breast cancer patients,” Jonathan points out in today’s show. "You go to a breast cancer run, and there’s hundreds and hundreds of survivors. You go to a pancreatic [cancer] fundraiser, and it’s really sad when they say, everyone who’s a survivor raise your hand. You might be lucky if it’s a big event, if there’s a dozen or so.”

Based in the Department of Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University, Jonathan is in a unique situation working with physician scientists to translate findings in cancer research directly into patient care. It’s what he calls moving target science. He shares his dream that one day we’ll look at cancer as we used to look at bacterial infections: diagnosis and tailored treatment.