Michael J. Wargovich, PhD
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Dr. Wargovich received a BA in Biology at Washington and Jefferson College (Washington, PA) and an MS in Biological Sciences from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA). He moved to Texas in 1979, and received a PhD in Microbiology from Texas Tech University in 1981.
Dr. Wargovich undertook post-doctoral studies at the Ontario Cancer Institute and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, Canada, where he first began research in the emerging discipline of cancer chemoprevention (which explores the use of natural and synthetic agents to inhibit the development of cancer). 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, the first to link increased calcium intake as a preventive measure against 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 have 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 fruits, and cruciferous vegetables.
In 2012, Dr. Wargovich relocated to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (now called UT Health San Antonio), where he is a senior researcher in the Cancer Therapy and Research Center and holds the CTRC Council Distinguished Chair in Oncology. His laboratory uses cancer cell lines and animal models to investigate natural and synthetic agents that may inhibit the development of cancer. Research on green tea is exploring the ability of tea catechins to alter cell signaling pathways corrupted by tumor cells. The laboratory is also testing whether, and how, antioxidant compounds in common dietary herbs suppress carcinogenesis.
Recently, Dr. Wargovich was a co-investigator, along with Chef Iverson as instructor, for a clinical trial testing the anti-inflammatory diet in breast cancer survivors. 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, inflammation and botanical medicine related to cancer. He continues to serve on grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health, American Institute for Cancer Research, and other national and international funding agencies.