Michael J. Wargovich, Ph.D., F.A.C.N.
Professor of Molecular Medicine
Cancer Center Council Distinguished Chair in Oncology
CTRC and UTHSCSA
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Dr. Wargovich received a B.A. at Washington and JeffersonCollege (Washington, PA) in biology and a M.S. from DuquesneUniversity (Pittsburgh, PA) in Biological Sciences. He moved to Texas in 1979 and received a Ph.D. in microbiology from Texas Tech University in 1981. He then undertook post-doctoral studies at the Ontario Cancer Institute and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, Canada. There, Dr. Wargovich first began research in the emerging discipline of cancer chemoprevention. His studies on calcium supplements as a preventive for colon cancer led to a landmark hypothesis paper in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1984 first linking increased calcium intake as a preventive measure towards colon cancer. Recent clinical studies have confirmed that calcium supplementation can reduce the risk for new colonic polyps.
Recruited to the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in 1984, Dr. Wargovich pioneered the development of preventive agents for use in human clinical trials. Assays developed in his laboratory screened hundreds of agents for cancer prevention activity. Among the discoveries made were the cancer preventive roles for compounds in green and black tea, various herbal and alternative medicine products, citrus, and cruciferous vegetables. He continues to serve on grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health, the VA Merit Review Board, American Institute for Cancer Research, and other national and international funding agencies.
In 2012 he relocated to the University Of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where he co-leads the Cancer Prevention and Population Science Program for the NCI-designated Cancer Therapy and Research Center. He holds the Cancer Center Council Distinguished Chair in Oncology
Research in his laboratory focuses on the prevention of colon cancer. Chemoprevention of colon cancer is an area of research that explores the use of natural and synthetic agents that inhibit the development of cancer. To that end we use colon cancer cell lines, and animal models for colon cancer to investigate potential inhibitors. Research on green tea is exploring the ability of tea catechins to alter cell signaling pathways corrupted by tumor cells. The laboratory is testing whether antioxidant compounds in common dietary herbal supplements suppress carcinogenesis by inducing apoptosis (cell death) via certain molecular pathways. Many of these studies also intersect with the field of cancer complementary and alternative medicine, an area that is vastly under-researched.
Dr. Wargovich is an international expert in colon cancer, cancer chemoprevention and botanical medicine related to cancer.