The Colorectal Cancer Alliance recently welcomed three new members to its Medical Scientific Advisory Committee—Drs. Scott Kopetz, Sanford Markowitz, and Alan Venook. This committee, also referred to as MSAC, serves as advisors on new treatments, medications, and other key issues related to colorectal cancer. The committee members volunteer their time and expertise to help the Alliance strategize its research and funding priorities.
Dr. Scott Kopetz
Dr. Scott Kopetz received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine after an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. He subsequently completed a Ph.D. at M.D. Anderson in cancer biology with a thesis focused on the mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in colorectal cancer.
Dr. Kopetz is currently Deputy Chair of the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Program Leader of the GI Program of the Cancer Center Support Grant at UTMDACC. Dr. Kopetz is well versed in multidisciplinary care of and translational research for GI cancer patients.
Dr. Kopetz also serves as chair of the Colon Cancer Task Force and is a leader of the GI Cancer Center Support Grant at MD Anderson and the Colorectal Cancer Moonshot, a multi- disciplinary effort to improve the survival of this disease beyond incremental advances. An innovator in the development and implementation of circulating tumor DNA into clinical management, he has authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles in respected scientific journals such as Nature Medicine, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Lancet.
Dr. Sanford (Sandy) Markowitz
Sanford Markowitz, M.D., Ph.D., is a medical oncologist and cancer researcher and is the Markowitz-Ingalls Professors of Cancer Genetics and Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University. He discovered two tumor suppressor genes, TGF-ß RII and 15-PGDH. Markowitz identified the rapid genetic inactivation of RII as the explanation of how and why colon cancers develop at young age in individuals who inherit Lynch syndrome. He determined the role of 15-PGDH in regulating stem cells and then developed the first 15-PGDH inhibitor drugs, which can potently regenerate damaged tissue.
Markowitz also pioneered developing molecular tests for early cancer detection, developing the first stool DNA test for early colon cancer detection and the first DNA based test for early detection of esophageal cancers and pre-cancers. He serves as Principal Investigator of the NCI - Case GI Cancers SPORE, as head of the GI Cancer Genetics Program at the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, and as a physician at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. He has been recognized as an NCI Outstanding Investigator awardee and won the Hamdan Prize for Medical Research Excellence awarded by the royal family of Dubai.
Dr. Alan Venook
Dr. Alan Venook is a nationally renowned expert in colorectal and liver cancers. He leads the gastrointestinal oncology program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. He received his M.D. from the University of California and completed his residency there, too. Venook has been on the medical staff at UCSF since 1988.
In his research, Venook focuses on treating liver tumors with targeted approaches, including infusional chemotherapy and biological agents. Following his internship at UCSF, he spent two years in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis, and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at UCSF.