Rapid Autopsy


Participating Researchers

Rapid autopsy program in melanoma

Complex interactions between the immune system and melanoma influence tumor invasion, metastasis, and survival. A deeper knowledge of how genetic and immunologic factors interact is central to understanding why melanoma progresses. Such knowledge will be essential to developing more effective therapies for melanoma, including treatment combinations. Our team has developed a rapid medical donation program in melanoma to study the complex biological behavior of this cancer, in a way that is otherwise not possible with the small needle biopsies that are typically done on tumors in living patients. We have already made significant progress towards establishing a biorepository containing multiple melanoma metastases from individual patients consenting to autopsy under a clinical protocol at Johns Hopkins. Ongoing studies are profiling the immunological and genetic factors associated with response and resistance to various forms of melanoma therapy.

For more information on the Hopkins Melanoma Program, please visit our web site: www.hopkinsmelanoma.org


Rapid autopsy program in prostate cancer

Angelo De Marzo, M.D., Ph.D. Angelo De Marzo, M.D., Ph.D. (Co-PI)
Dr. De Marzo is a board certified anatomic pathologist with specialty focus in genitourinary and prostate pathology who also earned a PhD in experimental pathology. At Johns Hopkins he has been highly involved with tissue banking in the Prostate Cancer Research Program, and has served as the director of the Pathology Core for the Johns Hopkins prostate Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) since 2000, with a brief hiatus as director from January 2012 to June 2013. De Marzo also serves as Associate Director of Pathology Cancer Research, in which he functions as a liaison between the Department of Pathology and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins to facilitate interactions between investigators from both programs to enhance translational research. He has more than 15 years of experience in prostate and genitourinary pathology. Dr. De Marzo's group has an extensive history of collecting, providing expert pathological diagnoses, annotating, processing, storing and sharing. For example, with support from the NCI SPORE program we have maintained and expanded our prostate tissue repository over the last 20 years, 15 years with Dr. De Marzo as the PI of the Core. His research laboratory focuses on the study of prostate cancer, paying special attention to disease etiology and prevention with a particular focus on the role of inflammation in prostate cancer development and progression. In addition, his laboratory also has a number of ongoing translational research efforts focused largely on using IHC against PTEN and other biomarkers where such biomarkers might aid in diagnosis, prognosis, treatment stratification and disease resistance monitoring. The laboratory is also interested in determination of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of neoplastic transformation in the prostate.


Rapid autopsy program in gynecologic cancers

Ie-Ming Shih, M.D., Ph.D.Ie-Ming Shih, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Shih is the Richard W. TeLinde Distinguished Professor of Gynecologic Pathology and a Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Oncology, and Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the Co-Director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. His research program is using the Rapid Autopsy service to harvest tumor tissues and normal controls for genomic and proteomic studies focusing on delineating the clonal evolution and pathogenesis of gynecologic cancers including ovarian and cervical cancer.

Richard W. TeLinde Gynecologic Pathology Research Program


Rapid autopsy program in pediatric brain tumors

Eric Raabe, M.D., Ph.D.Eric Raabe, M.D., Ph.D.
Our goal is to find new therapies for pediatric brain tumors. We developed a cell line (JHH DIPG1) from an autopsy specimen from a patient with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. That cell line was a critical part of identifying a new drug that is active against DIPG and is now heading for clinical trials. JHH DIPG1 has been sent to more than 10 different laboratories on three continents and is featured in multiple publications studying DIPG.


Families who donate autopsy tissue are making a precious gift to help the next generation of patients with these tumors.