Issue Date: November 26, 2012
Jerome P. Horwitz
Jerome P. Horwitz, 93, a pioneer in AIDS drug research at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and an emeritus professor at Wayne State University (WSU) School of Medicine, died on Sept. 6.
Born in Detroit, Horwitz earned a bachelor’s degree in 1942 and a master’s degree in 1944, both in chemistry from the University of Detroit. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1948 from the University of Michigan before completing postdoctoral research there and at Northwestern University.
Horwitz joined WSU and the Detroit Institute for Cancer Research in 1956. The institute later became the Michigan Cancer Foundation and is now the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
In 1964, Horwitz synthesized azidothymidine (AZT), which was designed as an anticancer drug. Although AZT was not effective for that application, it became the first drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration for the treatment of AIDS almost two decades later. Horwitz’ research led to the development of dideoxycytidine in 1967; 25 years later, that drug became the second FDA-approved drug for treating AIDS patients. He retired in 2005.
Horwitz wrote more than 100 articles published in peer-reviewed journals as well as several book chapters. He received numerous awards for his work. Horwitz was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1949.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sharon; two daughters, Carol Kastan and Suzy Gross; and five grandchildren.
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