Accelerating Breakthrough Discoveries into Medicines

Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD

Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD

Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, holds the Markowitz-Ingalls Professorship of Cancer Genetics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, with a co-appointment in the Department of Molecular Biology. He is internationally recognized for his work identifying key genetic causes of colon cancer and developing molecular tests for early detection.

His laboratory studies molecular abnormalities in colon cancer, including research into colon cancer suppressor genes and oncogenes, functions of positive and negative regulatory growth factors, and the role of genomic instability in inherited and sporadic colon cancers. Dr. Markowitz is focusing on discovering two classes of novel compound, one class that increases tissue prostaglandins, and a second class that will decrease tissue prostaglandins. These compounds are anticipated as active in treating multiple disease, including pulmonary hypertension, liver regeneration and cancer. Specifically, Dr. Markowitz seeks to develop lead compounds that inhibit or activate the enzymatic activity of 15-prostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH), an enzyme that degrades prostaglandins. Class 1 compounds that inactivate 15-PGDH are hypothesized to accelerate recovery from bone marrow transplantation and accelerate liver regeneration after liver transplant or toxic liver injury. These agents are also thought to augment response to prostacyclin treatment of pulmonary artery hypertension. Class 2 compounds that activate 15-PGDH are also under development with the aim to improving compound’s stability and half-life and to demonstrate in vivo safety and efficacy in animal models. Class 2 compounds show promise in treating colon cancer, as well as acting as a novel agent for colon tumor prevention.

Dr. Markowitz earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and his MD and PhD from Yale University, New Haven, CT. He served a fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute, Baltimore, MD.

Dr. Markowitz has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute and has served as a member of the scientific advisory boards of the National Colon Cancer Research Alliance, the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, the Abramson Family Cancer Research Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Dr. Markowitz serves as head of the Cancer Genetics Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and as Principal Investigator of the CASE GI Cancers SPORE, a National Cancer Institute-designated program of research excellence in gastrointestinal cancers. In clinical practice he is an attending physician at the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

Harrington Project

The Harrington Discovery Institute is the nonprofit arm of the Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, an international initiative supporting breakthrough research by physician-scientists. The Project is a new and powerful approach to address some of the challenges hindering advancement of medicine today.

The Harrington Grant is an important part of the overall pharmaceutical research initiative created by The Harrington Project.