Obituary: Angela M. Hartley Brodie (1934–2017)
Angela Brodie was a giant in the world of breast-cancer therapy. She discovered and developed the first selective aromatase inhibitor — a drug that blocks the synthesis of oestrogen, which fuels the growth of breast-cancer cells. Such treatments have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of women; a third generation of the compounds are now the drugs of choice in postmenopausal women.
Brodie died aged 82 on 7 June in Fulton, Maryland, from complications arising from Parkinson's disease. She was born in Oldham, UK, on 28 September 1934. Unusually for the time, her father, an organic chemist, encouraged her interest in science. After gaining a BSc and MSc in biochemistry from the University of Sheffield, she completed a PhD in chemical pathology in 1961 at the University of Manchester.
In Manchester, working as a research assistant at the Christie Cancer Hospital, she saw how traumatic radical mastectomy procedures were for women. She vowed to develop a better treatment for breast cancer that would, as she put it, avoid sending women to the “butcher's shop”.