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Anirban Maitra, MBBS

Dr. Anirban Maitra

Professor of Pathology and Oncology,
The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center,
Affiliate Faculty, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,
Affiliate Faculty, McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine
Johns Hopkins University

CRB-2, Suite 345
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine,
1550 Orleans Street
Baltimore, MD 21231

Phone: (410) 502-8191
Direct: (410) 955-3511
Fax: (410) 614-0671


Research Interest Statement

Dr. Maitra's research goals are focused on the identification and preclinical validation of rational, cancer-specific therapies for pancreatic cancer. Unlike commonly used cytotoxic agents, "mechanism-based" strategies utilize specific biochemical differences between cancer and normal cells and thus, the effects of chemotherapy are selectively detrimental to cancer cells only. For example, a compound may be lethal to pancreatic cancer cells that have deleted both copies of a particular gene, while normal cells can "bypass" the effects of this drug by retaining one or both copies of the implicated gene. Another broad class of "mechanism-based" therapies that is being pursued in Dr. Maitra's laboratory involves small molecule inhibitors of developmental signaling pathways. These pathways (for example, Notch and Hedgehog) are active during embryonic development but are quiescent in most adult somatic cells. Considerable evidence has now accrued that demonstrates the aberrant re-activation of these developmental signaling pathways in human cancers, including the majority of pancreatic malignancies. Targeting these pathways with specific small molecules provides a powerful avenue for therapy, while potential circumventing toxicities associated with conventional anti-metabolite compounds.

Current Projects

Dr. Maitra is also pursuing high-throughput approaches for identification of abnormal pancreatic cancer genes using cutting edge "gene chip" technologies. These chips allow scientists to query multiple genetic loci, including in some instances, the whole human genome, for abnormalities that are unique to pancreatic cancer but are not present in normal tissues. His third major area of research involves developing novel drug and gene delivery systems for pancreatic cancers, using targeted nanoparticles. Development of such non-viral delivery systems have the potential for enhancing therapeutic efficacy while restricting side effects.


  1. Maitra A, Hirany SV, Jialal, I. Comparison of two assays for measuring LDL cholesterol. Clin Chem. 1997; 43:1040-7.
  2. Yashima K, Maitra A, Rogers BB, Timmons CF, Rathi A, Pinar H, Wright WE, Gazdar AF. Expression of the RNA component of telomerase during human development and differentiation. Cell Growth Diff. 1998; 9:805-13.
  3. Yashima K, Maitra A, Timmons CF, Rogers BB, Pinar H, Shay JW, Gazdar A. Expression of the RNA component of telomerase in Wilms tumor and nephrogenic rest recapitulates renal embryogenesis. Hum Pathol. 1998; 29:536-42.
  4. Yashima K, Milchgrub S, Gollahon LS, Maitra A, Saboorian MH, Shay JW, Gazdar A. Telomerase enzyme activity and RNA expression during the multistage pathogenesis of breast carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res. 1998; 4:229-34.
  5. Maitra A, Yashima K, Timmons CF, Rogers BB, Rathi A, Shay JW, Gazdar AF. The RNA component of telomerase as a marker of biologic potential and clinical outcome in childhood neuroblastic tumors. Cancer. 1999; 85:741-9.
  6. Maitra A, Amirkhan R, Saboorian MH, Frawley W, Ashfaq R. Survival in small cell lung carcinoma is independent of Bcl-2 expression. Hum Pathol. 1999; 30:712-7.
  7. Maitra A, Wistuba II, Virmani AK, Sakaguchi M, Park I, Stuckey A, Milchgrub S, Gibbons SD, Minna JD, Gazdar AF. Enrichment of epithelial cells for molecular studies. Nature Med. 1999; 5:459-63.
  8. Maitra A, Salahuddin S, Timmons CF, Gazdar AF. Allelotyping nephrogenic rests: the putative precursor lesions of Wilms tumors. Ped Develop Pathol. 1999; 2:488-9.
  9. Maitra A, Wistuba II, Gibbons DG, Gazdar AF, Albores-Saavedra J. Allelic losses at chromosome 3p are seen in human papilloma virus 16 associated transitional cell carcinoma of the cervix. Gynecol Oncol. 1999; 74:361-8.
  10. Maitra A, Tavassoli FA, Albores-Saaverdra J, Behrens C, Wistuba II, Weinberg AG, Bryant D, Rogers B, Saboorian M, Gazdar A. Molecular abnormalities associated with secretory carcinomas of the breast. Human Pathol. 1999; 30:1435-40.

For a full listing of publications, click here to download the cv.