June 24, 2005 Meeting
The 2004 Gibbs Medalist: Professor Ronald Breslow
Professor Ronald Breslow

The Samuel Latham Mitchill Professor of Chemistry and University Professor

Department of Chemistry
Columbia University
New York, NY

Progress on a New Approach to Cancer Chemotherapy

Date:  Friday, June 24, 2005
Location:    Steven's Steak House
476 N. York Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126-2002

Cost:  $32.00 for members of ACS and their guests, $34.00 for non-members,
     $16 for students or unemployed


5:00 PM Job Club
5:15 PM Topical Group - Dr. Vince S. C. Yeh: "Enantioselective Catalysis"
6:00 PM Reception
7:00 PM Dinner
8:15 PM Program

Progress on a New Approach to Cancer Chemotherapy

Abstract:     We have developed a group of potent molecules that accomplish a number of important goals in cancer therapy with a wide range of cancer types.  1) The cancer cells cease growth.   2) They can differentiate into normal non-cancerous cells.  3) In some cases they undergo apoptosis, programmed cell death.   The compounds do not show significant toxicity, are orally active, and the lead compound has successfully finished phase 1 and 2 clinical trials.   The intellectual path that led to the potent compounds will be described, as well as the evidence on how they work and the results of animal and human trials.

Biographical Sketch:    Ronald Breslow was born in Rahway, New Jersey on March 14, 1931.  He received his undergraduate and graduate training at Harvard University, where he did his Ph.D. research with Professor R.B. Woodward.   He then spent a year in Cambridge, England as a postdoctoral fellow with Lord Todd, and came to Columbia University in 1956 as Instructor in Chemistry.  He is now the Samuel Latham Mitchill Professor of Chemistry at Columbia and one of twelve University Professors, and a former Chairman of the Department.

Professor Breslow's research interests can be described generally as involving the design and synthesis of new molecules with interesting properties, and the study of these properties.   Examples include the cyclopropenyl cation, the simplest aromatic system and the first aromatic compound prepared with other than six electrons in a ring.

His work establishing the phenomenon of anti-aromaticity has involved the synthesis of novel molecules, as well as their study.  Even in work on purely mechanistic questions, such as his discovery of the chemical mechanism used by thiamine (vitamin B-1) in biochemical reactions, the synthesis and study of novel molecules played an important role.

Although he continues his interest in unusual conjugated systems, his major emphasis in recent years has been on the synthesis and study of molecules that imitate enzymatic reactions.   This work has included the development of remote functionalization reactions and the development of artificial enzymes.

Recently he has developed a new group of cytodifferentiating agents with potential use in cancer chemotherapy.   He is the author of over 400 publications.

Awards and Professional Service:    Professor Breslow is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (Chairman of the Chemistry Division 1974-77), of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the American Philosophical Society (member of the Council, 1987-92), as well as other scientific societies including the New York Academy of Sciences. He is a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, an Honorary Member of the Korean Chemical Society, an Honorary Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry of Great Britain, a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of Britain, a Fellow of the World Innovation Foundation, an Honorary Member of the Chemical Society of Japan, and an Honorary Professor of the University of Science and Technology of China.

He has been the Chairman of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Rockefeller University. He is on the Editorial Board of a number of Scientific Journals, and has held over 200 named and visiting Professorships.

Professor Breslow's major scientific awards include the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry (1966), the Fresenius Award of Phi Lambda Upsilon (1966), the Baekeland Medal (1969), the Centenary Medal (1972), the Harrison Howe Award (1974), the Remsen Prize (1977), the Roussel Prize in Steroids (1978), the James Flack Norris Prize in Physical Organic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (1980), the Richards Medal (1984), the Arthur C. Cope Award (1987), the Kenner Award (1988), the Nichols Medal (1989), the National Academy of Sciences Award in Chemistry (1989), the Allan Day Award (1990), the Paracelsus Award and Medal of the Swiss Chemical Society (1990), and the U.S. National Medal of Science (1991). He was named one of the top 75 contributors to the chemical enterprise in the past 75 years by Chemical & Engineering News (1997), and won the Priestley Medal (1999). In 2000 he won the New York City Mayor's Award in Science and in 2002 he has received the ACS Bader Award in Bioorganic or Bioinorganic Chemistry and the Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest. In 2003 he received the Robert Welch Award in Chemistry. In 2005 Professor. Breslow was elected to the European Academy of Science.

He has also received the Mark Van Doren Medal of Columbia University and the Columbia University Great Teacher Award. He was President-Elect of the American Chemical Society (1995), was ACS President (1996), and was ACS Immediate Past President (1997).

Directions and Map:

From Downtown Chicago:
Take Eisenhower Expressway (290) west to York Road. Turn right on York Road (south) to Steven's, which is on the right side of street, at Lake Street.

From the North or South:
Take 294 to 290 West Rockford. Exit York Road and turn right (south). Proceed to Steven's

Parking:   Free


Updated 5/23/05