Michael J. Wargovich, PhD

Michael Wargovich, of The University of Texas at San Antonio, has been a “bench” scientist for the last several decades and, in the process, he has spearheaded research in the field of “chemoprevention” – an area of cancer research that is only 20 years old.

Chemoprevention springs from the premise that cancer is preventable – or pre-cancers can be inhibited from becoming cancerous – through the use of natural compounds or pharmaceuticals. During his tenure with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he arrived in 1984, Michael pioneered the development of preventive agents for use in human clinical trials. Through the research done in his lab, discoveries included preventive roles for the compounds in green and black tea, herbal and alternative medicine products, citrus and cruciferous vegetables.

Michael has spent the better part of his career traveling across the world to study populations of people who do not have the same diseases found in western populations, and seeing how this changes as their diets become more westernized.

During the last six years, Michal’s research has taken him to India, where he was drawn to an Indian ayurvedic plant called “meem,” which has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Over the course of six trips to India to learn more about the meem tree, Michael discovered that it harbors many natural components, both anti-viral and anti-bacterial. He explained that bark from the meem tree serves as the “poor man’s toothbrush.”

“Poor people snap off a branch and use the end as a toothbrush.”

Michael’s wife found a toothpaste made from the meem tree and the couple began using it. He reported that their dentist has been astonished by the great condition of their teeth. “And I don’t even floss!” he added.
This led to more serious research that has progressed over the last seven years. In the process, Michael and his team have found that meem is spectacular in preventing colorectal and mouth cancer.

“The work being done in our lab on oral cancer has been persuasive enough to convince five major hospitals to do head and neck cancer clinical trials.”

Michael is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, graduating with a B.A. in biology from Washington and Jefferson College and an M.S. in biological sciences from Duquesne University. In 1979, he received a Ph.D. in microbiology from Texas Tech University, followed by postdoctoral studies at Ontario Cancer Institute and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Toronto, Canada.
Michael was first introduced to SIO at the annual conference in Miami.

“I was taken by the interdisciplinary membership. This was the first time I found oncologists who practiced traditional as well as “alternative” medicine.”

After 30 years of studying natural products and their potential to prevent cancers, Michael said it was great to find comrades who shared his point of view. Since then, Dr. Wargovich continues to make meaningful contributions to SIO as a member of the Research Committee, the Board of Trustees, Co-Chair of the SIO2019 Scientific Review and, most recently, the Nominating Committee.




The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) is accepting nominations from SIO members to fill anticipated vacancies on its Board of Trustees. SIO welcomes the nomination of individuals who are researchers, clinicians, clinical researchers, patients and patient advocates. The submission deadline is July 1. Learn more below about eligibility and submission procedures.


Eligibility: To be eligible, candidates must meet the following criteria:

• Current SIO Member (or will join)

• Interested in and committed to advancing and maintaining the integrity of integrative oncology

• Willing to contribute at least 5-10 hours per month toward SIO activities

• Willing to participate in SIO advancement, including fund raising

• Willing to participate in the annual SIO conference (2019 conference October 19-21 in New York City.)

• Willing to participate in teleconference call meetings every other month and attend and participate in one annual Board retreat and meeting at the SIO Conference. (The 2019 daylong retreat to be held October 18 from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. in New York City.)

• Willing to co-chair an SIO Committee, Task Force and/or Special Interest Group

Nomination Materials: Individuals may nominate themselves or others for consideration by sending the nomination along with the nominee’s curriculum vitae and/or resume, as well as a brief introductory paragraph or two stating the nominee’s qualifications, availability and vision for serving on the SIO Board. The identity of the nominator must be included with the nomination materials. If nominating someone other than yourself, acceptance of the nomination must be confirmed in writing via email from the nominee within one week of submission of the nomination. An acceptance confirmation should be sent to info@integrativeonc.org 

Submission of Nominations: All nomination documents must be submitted in WORD or PDF format and sent by email to SIO at info@integrativeonc.org. The deadline for nomination submission is July 1. 

Selection of Trustees: Nominations will be reviewed by the SIO Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, with a slate of nominees presented for vote by the SIO membership.

Trustee Terms: Each Trustee will serve a term of three years. Each trustee will be introduced to the SIO membership at the annual general meeting during the SIO Conference in October 2019 and will begin service at that time.   

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New Investigator Forum 2019

Society for Integrative Oncology

New Investigator Forum on Integrative Oncology Research Methods

Application deadline: May 28, 2019

Overview:  The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) is committed to developing talented young investigators in integrative oncology with its New Investigator Forum on Integrative Oncology Research Methods. We are now accepting New Investigator Forum applications for the 16th International Conference that will be held in New York, NY, October 19-21. Open to advanced doctoral students, postdoctoral trainees and junior faculty, a selected group of scholars will be chosen to meet with internationally recognized leaders in the field and present their research for discussion and constructive feedback. The research may be in its planning stages or work in progress that is not yet completed.

Purpose: Provide students, trainees and junior faculty with an opportunity to have planned research or research in progress reviewed, discussed and critiqued in a supportive environment by experienced and highly regarded integrative oncology experts who have varied clinical and scientific expertise.

The Society for Integrative Oncology elected three new board members and re-elected three board members at the Annual Meeting held in conjunction with SIO’s 15th annual international conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. They took office at the conclusion of the conference.

The Board is pleased to welcome the following three individuals who were newly elected to three-year terms: