We are proud to tell you about two new additions to our faculty, welcome reinforcements in our fight against prostate cancer: Mohamad E. Allaf and Edward M. Schaeffer. “Neither of these physician-scientists is a stranger to the Brady,” says Alan W. Partin, M.D, Ph.D.,Director of the Brady. “Indeed, we felt that their work as residents was so promising, we wanted to give them the best opportunity to flourish clinically and in the laboratory.”
Mohamad E. Allaf, M.D., Assistant Professor of Urology and Director of Minimally Invasive and Laparoscopic Surgery at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, completed his undergraduate studies in Biomedical Engineering and earned a medical degree from the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, then went on to complete his residency and advanced training in urology at the Brady Urological Institute.
In a series of laboratory experiments with rats, working with Arthur L. Burnett, M.D. Professor of Urology (read more), Allaf recently discovered that erythropoietin (“EPO”) — a drug most commonly used to boost the production of red blood cells in people with kidney failure — appears to speed up the recovery of nerve function and hasten the return of erections. Also, Allaf and colleagues have found a receptor for EPO in the periprostatic neurovascular bundles — the nerves essential for erection — in humans. Based on this exciting work, Allaf and Burnett are planning a clinical trial to evaluate the role of EPO in promoting erectile recovery following radical prostatectomy. Allaf’s other research interests, building on his background in biomedical engineering, include designing and testing novel devices aimed at improving surgical abilities and minimizing the morbidity of surgery.
Edward M. Schaeffer, M.D. Ph.D., an accomplished surgeon scientist, received his medical training at the University of Chicago and scientific training at the National Institutes of Health. He completed his residency at the Brady Urological Institute, and now has appointments as an assistant professor in the Departments of Urology, Oncology and Pathology at Johns Hopkins.
Schaeffer, in molecular studies with pathologist David Berman, M.D, Ph.D. (read more), has been working on understanding how prostate cancer begins and spreads. Like Berman, he believes clues to cancer’s origins, and its subsequent pathways for growth, lie in the early development of the prostate itself. “During development,” he explains, “the prostate is built from scratch, using processes of cellular invasion, division and differentiation — which is very similar to what we see in the formation of cancer.” Schaeffer hopes that by mapping, on a molecular basis, what happens in androgenregulated prostate development, his team can also identify — and figure out how to stop — new molecular pathways that become activated in prostate cancer.