Michael B. Sporn, M.D.
Professor of Pharmacology
Michael Sporn has been Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School since 1995. Before that, he was Chief of the Laboratory of Chemoprevention at the National Cancer Institute from 1978 until moving to Dartmouth. His research interests over the years have been in the fields of nucleic acid research, studies of the chemistry and biology of retinoids, studies of peptide growth factors (particularly transforming growth factor-beta, TGF-beta), and most importantly, the chemoprevention of cancer. After moving to Dartmouth, he established a new collaboration with Professor Gordon Gribble in the Department of Chemistry at Dartmouth. Together with Dr. Gribble and colleagues, who have synthesized several hundred new synthetic triterpenoids, they have tested these agents for potential application in prevention and treatment of disease. These new agents have anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, pro-apoptotic, and cytoprotective activities. One of these triterpenoids, CDDO-Methyl ester, is now in Phase II clinical trials for treatment of advanced diabetic kidney disease. The cellular and molecular mechanisms of action of the triterpenoids are being investigated in the Sporn Laboratory. Another major interest are the ligands, known as rexinoids, for the nuclear RXR receptors. These are potent agents for control of gene transcription relevant to differentiation, proliferation, and inflammation.