American Philosophical Society
Member History

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Resident (1)
2. Biological Sciences[X]
204. Medicine, Surgery, Pathology and Immunology[X]
1Name:  Dr. Paul A. Marks
 Institution:  Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
 Year Elected:  2007
 Class:  2. Biological Sciences
 Subdivision:  204. Medicine, Surgery, Pathology and Immunology
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1926
 Death Date:  April 28, 2020
Paul A. Marks was President Emeritus of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and a member of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. He was president and CEO of MSKCC from 1980-99. He received his A.B. and M.D. degrees from Columbia University and completed postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland and the Pasteur Institute, Paris. Following his period at the Pasteur, Dr. Marks returned to Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons as an assistant professor and was promoted to professor of medicine in 1967. In 1968 he was made professor of human genetics and Frode Jensen Professor of Medicine (1968-80) and the first chairman of the newly created Department of Human Genetics and Development. In 1970 he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (1970-73). In 1973 he became vice president of health sciences and director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center (1973-80) at Columbia University. In 1980 he was recruited to be the first president and CEO of the combined Memorial Hospital and Sloan-Kettering Institute. He retired from these positions in December 1999. Since January 2000 he has been a member of the Sloan-Kettering Institute, pursuing his research as head of the Laboratory of Cancer Cell Biology. Dr. Marks published over 400 scientific articles in various scholarly journals. His research focused on the discovery and development of approaches to selectively arrest cancer cell growth. He and his colleagues identified a series of small molecules - hydroxamic acid based hybrid polar compounds - that inhibit histone deacetylases (HDAC), enzymes that play a role in regulating gene expression, cell growth, and cell death and can cause death of a variety of cancer cells, with little or no toxicity to normal cells. SAHA was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) in October 2006. The first of these novel targeted histone deacetylase inhibitors to be approved for patient use. HDAC inhibitors represent a new approach to cancer therapy. Dr. Marks was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He served on many governmental and non-governmental committees and boards, including the President's Commission on Three Mile Island, the President's National Cancer Advisory Board, Councils of the National Academies and the boards of several academic institutions in the USA and abroad. He received a number of honors including the Distinguished Achievement Medal of Columbia University; the Japan Foundation for the Promotion of Cancer Research Medal; the Centenary Medal of the Pasteur Institute; honorary degrees from several universities, including his alma mater, Columbia University, the John Stearns Award for Lifetime Achievement in Medicine of the New York Academy of Medicine; and the President's National Medal of Science (USA). Dr. Marks was a founder of the biotechnology company Aton Pharma, Inc. that had an exclusive license from Columbia to develop SAHA as a cancer therapeutic, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck. Paul A. Marks was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2007. He died April 28, 2020 in New York, New York, at the age of 93.
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