Dr. Saul Brusilow, a pediatrician and biochemical geneticist who developed groundbreaking therapies to treat the complications of rare and often fatal genetic defects, died on April 19. He was 92, lived in Bethesda and taught at Johns Hopkins University for more 50 years. The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Brusilow was internationally recognized in the field of pediatric inherited diseases of metabolism, most notably for his research and successful therapies to treat a group of genetic and biochemical disorders of the urea cycle, a metabolic process that uses six enzymes to rid the body of excess nitrogen. If any of the enzymes fails to function properly because of a genetic mutation, nitrogen builds up in the form of ammonia that can damage the brain and cause death.
The treatments developed by Dr. Brusilow were among the first small-molecule drug therapies to effectively treat any disease produced by a genetic disorder.
Dr. Brusilow was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1927. After graduating from Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, he enlisted in the Navy in 1945 and was honorably discharged the following year. He graduated from Princeton University in 1950 and then received his medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine in 1954, where he began his training in pediatrics. After completing both an internship and one year of his residency training at Grace-New Haven Community Hospital, he completed his residency and a fellowship in pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore in 1959.
He is survived by his children, William (Cynthia) of Grosse Pointe, Mich., and Susan (Stephen) Solomon of Chevy Chase; his grandchildren, Evan Solomon and Nicholas, Samuel and Isabelle Brusilow. He was predeceased by his wife, Sallie (Evans) Brusilow, and his son Alexander Brusilow.