Past AACR president Susan B. Horwitz elected to National Academy of Sciences

PHILADELPHIA Susan Band Horwitz, Ph.D., president of the American Association for Cancer Research in 2002-2003, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences last week.

Dr. Horwitz holds the Rose C. Falkenstein Chair in Cancer Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx, N.Y., where she also serves the Albert Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center as Associate Director for Drug Development.

She is one of 72 new members elected to the Academy at its 142nd annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Six other AACR members also were among those selected.

The research program in Dr. Horwitz's laboratory focuses on the development of drugs derived from natural products for the treatment of malignancies, and the problem of drug resistance. It was there that the novel structure and unique mechanism of action of the widely used anti-cancer drug Taxol were first described. Taxol, isolated from the yew tree, works at the molecular level to arrest cell growth and induce cell death. Dr. Horwitz's research led to its development and approval as a treatment for ovarian, breast and lung cancers.

Currently, Dr. Horwitz is investigating newly discovered, potentially important antitumor drugs, such as the epothilones and discodermolide, which have a mechanism of action similar to that of Taxol; and she is evaluating new drug combinations. Her findings suggest that Taxol combined with signal transduction inhibitors may be more effective compared to single agents.

Dr. Horwitz also has developed taxol-resistant cell lines derived from mammalian tumor cells growing in tissue culture, to serve as a model system for studying drug resistance. She is working on quantitative mass spectrometric-based methods to pursue further the evidence in human cancer cell lines, tissues and tumors that different antigenic markers have different sensitivities to Taxol, and may also be related to drug resistance.

"Dr. Horwitz is co

Contact: Elizabeth Tait
American Association for Cancer Research

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