Friends of the Lab: Dr. Jody Hooper, Johns Hopkins University

My name is Dr. Jody Hooper, MD, and I am the Director of the Legacy Gift Rapid Autopsy Program and Director of Autopsy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. I first met Dr. Charles Keller when we were both faculty at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland Oregon in 2011. In collaboration with Dr. Keller, I started a program at OHSU to perform rapid research autopsies – autopsies performed on an urgent basis to collect tissue for research, including living cells that can produce cell lines and xenografts. Rapid autopsy has the power to sample rare tumors in large volumes from metastatic sites all over the body. These autopsies are a unique opportunity for patients and families to contribute to research about diseases and disease processes. I moved to Johns Hopkins to take over and expand the Rapid Autopsy Program in 2014 and have continued to collaborate with Dr. Keller and ccTDI on sarcoma rapid autopsies since then.

Autopsy should be an essential part of any clinical trial and this is doubly true for cancer patients. I hope to participate in a national effort to publicize this new unique role for an old medical technique and hope to see the number of Rapid Autopsy Programs expand from the current fourteen to many more all over the U.S. Rapid autopsy is currently helping to map the development of adult cancers such as prostate, breast, and pancreas and with efforts like those of ccTDI, it can do the same for childhood cancers.

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