Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pathology and Oncology, The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Adelphi University in Garden City NY in 1991, and both her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Boston University School of Medicine in 1998. Upon graduation, she moved to Baltimore where she completed a residency in Anatomic Pathology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the final year of which she served as one of two appointed Chief Residents. Her training also includes a postdoctoral fellowship in Gastrointestinal Oncology in the lab of Dr. Scott Kern M.D., a renowned pancreatic cancer researcher and pioneer in the field of pancreatic cancer genetics, and a Gastrointestinal/Liver Pathology fellowship at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Iacobuzio joined the full-time Pathology faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2003 as an Instructor, was promoted later in 2003 to an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Oncology, and is currently an Associate Professor of Pathology, Oncology and Surgery. She is also an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Epigenetic Studies.
Dr. Iacobuzio is the Principal Investigator of an NIH funded laboratory whose focus is the molecular genetics of gastrointestinal cancers, with a focus on pancreatic cancer. She is also the Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Rapid Medical Donation Program to enable patients with terminal gastrointestinal cancer to consent to a rapid autopsy for research. The impact of this program has been far reaching. Utilizing this unique resource, her lab had demonstrated the technical methods and frequency by which cell lines and xenografts can be generated from postmortem tissues, that the genetic and epigenetic features of these samples are reflective of the tissues from which they are derived, and the gene expression associated with disease progression. This resource has also formed the basis of a multi-collaborator effort to sequence the pancreatic cancer genome that was recently published in the journal Science, the scale of which is unparalleled for any tumor type thus far.
Based on this program, her lab has also shown that pretreatment levels of deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) are highly predictive of survival following Gemcitabine treatment, and that levels of dCK do not change even after clinical resistance has been documented. Most recently, her lab has made the striking discovery that genetic inactivation of the DPC4 and TP53 tumor suppressor genes in primary pancreatic cancers at diagnosis are strongly correlated with metastatic disease that ultimately lead to treatment failure and death, whereas primary carcinomas of patients that contained an intact DPC4 gene died of complications related to locally advanced pancreatic cancer and not lethal metastasis. The implications of this finding are profound as it suggests that pancreatic cancers are represented by two different biologic phenotypes, and that a determination of these genetic features at diagnosis may have value in therapeutic decisions. Return to the Events Page