Steven M. Swanson, PhDSteve Swanson

Professor of Pharmacognosy
Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy

Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
College of Pharmacy

University of Illinois at Chicago
College of Pharmacy
833 S. Wood Street (M/C 781)
Chicago, IL 60612-7231

Office: 321 PHARM
Office Phone: 312-996-0842
Lab Phone: 312-996-8803
Fax Number: 312-996-7107
E-mail address:


Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, BS in Biology, 1982
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, PhD in Pharmacognosy, 1990
University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, Post-Doctoral training in carcinogenesis, 1994

Research Interests:

The major theme of research by my laboratory is to develop novel therapies for the treatment of breast and prostate cancer. We currently have two federally funded research projects ongoing.

“Biological Correlation and Analysis” [National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant number P01CA125066] This grant is to run a core within a program project headed by A. Douglas Kinghorn, of Ohio State University). Other collaborators on this project are at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Research Triangle Institute and here at UIC (Drs. Farnsworth, Soejarto and Orjala). In this core, we evaluate activity of extracts and pure compounds against specific molecular targets (the proteasome and histone deacetylase). We also conduct follow-up assays on active principles using cell based and animal model systems. Finally, we conduct studies to evaluate the mechanism of action of leads. We currently have two very promising compounds that have been selected by NIH to undergo further preclinical development in the RAID program.

Our second federally funded project is supported by the Department of Defense and is entitled “Mechanism of Prostate Cancer Prevention by downregulation of the GH/IGF Axis” (grant number PC080305). We collaborate with John Kopchik, who originally discovered the growth hormone antagonist that became pegvisomant, an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of acromegaly. Another collaborator on this grant is Gail Prins from UIC who is an internationally recognized leader in prostate physiology and carcinogenesis. Our goal in this project is to further test the hypothesis that the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor (GH/IGF-1) axis is a good target to develop novel anti-cancer therapeutics against. We think that targeting GH may be safer and more efficacious than targeting IGF-1 since GH regulates IGF-1 and can downregulate IGF-1 substantially, but not completely. However, other therapeutics that downregulate IGF-1 may do so to a degree that could produce harmful side effects.

Our research group also has active collaborative projects with Drs. Bolton of the College of Pharmacy, and Drs. Unterman, Frasor and Freeman of the College of Medicine.

Professional Organizations:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
American Society of Pharmacognosy
Endocrine Society

Honors and Awards:

Hans W. Vahlteich Award, University of Illinois at Chicago
Catherine Aldinger Cancer Research Award, University of Illinois at Chicago
National Research Service Award, National Cancer Institute
Postdoctoral Research Grant, University of California Cancer Research Coordinating Committee
Teaching Assistantship, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Predoctoral Fellowship, National Cancer Institute
Member of Rho Chi Pharmacy honors society


PMPG 511 Advanced Pharmacognosy
PMPG 510 Research Techniques in Pharmacognosy
PMPG 507 Drug Discovery, Design and Development
GC 473 Seminar in Comparative Medicine
PHAR 408 Principles of Drug Action and Therapeutics VIII
PHAR 401 Principles of Drug Action and Therapeutics I

Recent Publications:

  1. Carroll RE, Goodlad RA, Poole AJ, Tyner AL, Robey RB Swanson SM, Unterman TG. Reduced susceptibility to azoxymethane-induced aberrant crypt foci formation and colon cancer in growth hormone deficient rats. Growth Horm IGF Res. In press.
  2. Kinghorn AD, Carcache de Blanco EJ, Chai H-B, Orjala J, Farnsworth NR, Soejarto DD, Oberlies NH, Wani MC, Kroll DJ, Pearce CJ, Swanson SM, Kramer RA, Rose WC, Fairchild CR, Vite GD, Emanuel S, Jarjoura D, Cope FO. Discovery of natural product anticancer agents from biodiverse organisms. Pure Appl Chem. 81: 1051-1063, 2009.
  3. Kinghorn AD, Chin YW, Swanson SM. Discovery of natural product anticancer agents from biodiverse organisms. Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 12: 189-196, 2009.
  4. Mi Q, Pezzuto JM, Farnsworth NR, Wani MC, Kinghorn AD, Swanson SM. Use of the in vivo hollow fiber assay in natural products anticancer drug discovery. J Nat Prod. 72: 573-580, 2009.
  5. Deng Y, Balunas MJ, Kim JA, Lantvit DD, Chin YW, Chai H, Kardono JBS, Fong HHS, Pezzuto JM, Swanson SM, Carcache de Blancho EJ, Kinghorn AD. Bioactive 5,6-dihydropyrone derivatives from Hyptis brevipes. J Nat Prod, 72: 1156-1169, 2009.
  6. Chin YW, Salim AA, Su BN, Mi Q, Chai HB, Riswan S, Kardono LB, Ruskandi A, Farnsworth NR, Swanson SM, Kinghorn AD.Potential anticancer activity of naturally occurring and semi-synthetic derivatives of aculeatins A and B from Amomum aculeatum. J Nat Prod 71: 390-395, 2008.
  7. Wang Z, Luque RM, Kineman RD, Ray VH, Christov KT, Lantvit DD, Shirai T, Hedayat S, Unterman TG, Bosland MC, Prins GS, Swanson SM. Disruption of growth hormone signaling retards prostate carcinogenesis in the Probasin/Tag rat. Endocrinology, 149: 1366-1376, 2008. (Featured on page 10 of the February 2008 issue of Endocrine News)
  8. Shen Q, Lantvit DD, Lin Q, Li Y, Christov K, Wang Z, Unterman TG, Mehta RG, Swanson SM. Advanced rat mammary cancers are growth hormone dependent. Endocrinology, 148: 4536-4544, 2007. (This paper was the subject of a News and Views editorial in the front pages of the Endocrinology issue in which it appeared.)
  9. Swanson SM, Kopchick JJ. Nuclear localization of growth hormone receptor: another age of discovery for cytokine action? Sci STKE, 415: pe69, 2007.
  10. Hagos GM, Carroll RE, Kouznetsova T, Li Q, Toader V, Fernandes PO, Swanson SM, Thatcher GR. Colon cancer chemoprevention by a novel NO chimera that shows anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative activity in vitro and in vivo. Mol Cancer Ther, 6: 2230-2239, 2007.
  11. Kim S, Hwang BY, Su BN, Chai H, Mi Q, Kinghorn AD, Wild R, Swanson SM. Silvestrol, a potential anticancer rocaglate derivative from Aglaia foveolata, induces apoptosis in LNCaP cells through the mitochondrial/apoptosome pathway without activation of executioner caspase-3 or -7. Anticancer Res, 27: 2175-2183, 2007.
  12. Jones WP, Lobo-Echeverri T, Mi, Q, Chai, HB, Soejarto DD, Cordell GA, Swanson SM Kinghorn AD. Cytotoxic Constituents from the Fruiting Branches of Callicarpa americana Collected in Southern Florida. J Nat Prod, 70: 372-377, 2007.
  13. Salim AA, Su BN, Chai HB, Riswan S, Kardono LBS, Ruskandi A, Farnsworth NR, Swanson SM, Kinghorn AD. Dioxadispiroketal compounds and a potential acyclic precursor from Amomum aculeatum. Tetrahedron Lett, 48: 1849-1853, 2007.
  14. Zhang X, Mehta RG, Lantvit DD, Coschigano KT, Kopchick JJ, Green JE, Hedayat S, Christov KT, Unterman TG, Swanson SM. Inhibition of estrogen independent mammary carcinogenesis by disruption of growth hormone signaling. Carcinogenesis 28: 143-150, 2007.
  15. Chin YW, Mdee LK, Mbwambo ZH, Mi Q, Chai HB, Cragg GM, Swanson SM, Kinghorn AD. New prenylated flavonoids from the root bark of Berchemia discolor, a Tanzanian medicinal plant. J Nat Prod. 69: 1649-1652, 2006.
  16. Kim S, Chin YW, Su BN, Riswan S, Kardono LBS, Afriastini JJ, Chai HB, Farnsworth NR, Cordell GA, Swanson SM, Kinghorn AD. Cytotoxic Flavaglines and Bisamides from Aglaia edulis. J Nat Prod 69: 1769-1775, 2006.
  17. Mi Q, Kim SY, Hwang BY, Su BN, Chari H, Arbieva Z, Kinghorn AD, Swanson, SM. Silvestrol regulates G2/M checkpoint genes independent of p53 activity. Anticancer Res. 26: 3349-3356, 2006.
  18. Balunas, MJ, Jones, WP, Chin, YW, Mi Q, Farnsworth NR, Soejarto DD, Cordell GA, Swanson SM, Pezzuto JM, Chai HB, Kinghorn AD. Relationships between inhibitory activity against a cancer cell line panel, profiles of plants collected, and compound classes isolated in an anticancer drug discovery project. Chem Biodivers. 3: 897-915, 2006.
  19. Chin YW, Jones WP, Mi Q, Rachman I, Riswan S, Kardono LB, Chai HB, Farnsworth NR, Cordell GA, Swanson SM, Cassady JM, Kinghorn AD. Cytotoxic clerodane diterpenoids from the leaves of Premna tomentosa. Phytochemistry, 67: 1243-1248, 2006.
  20. Diwadkar-Navsariwala V, Prins GP, Swanson SM, Birch LA, Ray VH, Hedayat S, Lantvit DD and Alan M. Diamond. Selenoprotein deficiency accelerates prostate carcinogenesis in a transgenic model. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 103: 8179-8184, 2006.
  21. Mi Q, Su BN, Chai HB, Cordell GA, Farnsworth NR, Kinghorn AD, Swanson SM. Rocaglaol induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in LNCaP Cells. Anticancer Res. 26: 947-952, 2006.
  22. Fang L, Ito A, Chai HB, Mi Q, Jones WP, Madulid DR, Oliveros MB, Gao Q, Orjala J, Farnsworth NR, Soejarto DD, Cordell GA, Swanson SM, Pezzuto JM, Kinghorn AD. Cytotoxic constituents from the stem bark of Dichapetalum gelonioides collected in the Philippines. J Nat Prod. 69: 332-337, 2006.
  23. Chin, YW, Jones WP, Rachman I, Riswan S, Kardono LBS, Chai HB, Farnsworth NR, Cordell GA, Swanson SM, Cassady JM, Kinghorn AD. Cytotoxic lignans from the stems of Helicteres hirsuta collected in Indonesia. Phytother Res. 20: 62-65, 2006.