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Waldemar Priebe, Ph.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Cancer Medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Professor, The University of Texas Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Dr. Priebe’s research merges biology with chemistry and focuses on the design and development of drugs that selectively target DNA and inhibitors of signaling and metabolic pathways important to tumor progression and survival. He has a long term interest in the field of carbohydrates ranging from organic chemistry of carbohydrates to the exploitation of carbohydrate metabolism in normal cells and cancer cells.


Dr. Priebe is noted for his successful development of new therapeutic entities for the treatment of cancer. During his career, he has generated an extensive library of distinct, novel cancer-fighting compounds (numbering in the thousands) covering many structural scaffolds and diverse therapeutic areas. The invention of these agents has led to many patents and numerous licenses.  Three of his drugs are in clinical trials and several others are in different stages of preclinical development.


In addition to his position at M. D. Anderson, Dr. Priebe holds the title of Professor of Chemistry in the Republic of Poland.


Dr. Priebe has published more than 170 peer-reviewed journal articles and his work has led to 40 patents. Additionally, he has organized at least 14 national and international conferences and been an invited lecturer on more than 130 occasions.


Research Interests

The research in my laboratory focuses on novel approaches to rational drug design and preclinical translational research. The approach we use, "translational chemistry," involves the intersection of chemistry and biology, where we blend our expertise in cutting-edge synthetic organic chemistry and bio-organic chemistry with the biology of cancer and all aspects of drug discovery and development. The ultimate measure of our success is the translation of our research and discoveries at the bench into viable drugs for patients with cancer.

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1901 East Road
Unit Number: 1950
Houston, TX 77054
Room Number: 4SCR2.1006
Phone: (713) 792-3777
Fax: (713) 745-4975

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1978 Institute of Organic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, PHD, Organic Chemistry, Total Synthesis of Lincomycin Analogs
1971 University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland, MS, Organic Chemistry

Postgraduate Training

1979-1980 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Ohio State University, Department of Chemistry, Columbus, OH, Professor D. Horton

Honors and Awards

2013 The Polish Academy of Sciences Medal, Polish Academy of Sciences
2009 Melville L. Wolfrom Award, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC
2005 The Award of T. Sendzimir Medal, Association of Polish Inventors
2004 The official title of Professor from Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of Poland. Priebe was honored in a ceremony held in Poland January 16, 2004 for his seminal contributions in the field of Chemistry
1999 Honorary Membership of The Sociedad Argentina de Investigaciones en Quimica Organica (SAIQQ)
1995 The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Deans Excellence Award
1994 Polish Chemical Society Maria Curie-Sklodowska Medal

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Emmett MR, Kroes RA, Moskal JR, Conrad CA, Priebe W, Laezza F, Meyer-Baese A, Nilsson CL. Integrative Biological Analysis for Neuropsychopharmacology. Neuropsychopharmacology 39(1):5-23, 1/2014. e-Pub 6/26/2013. PMCID: PMC3857644.
2. Mielecki M, Krawiec K, Kiburu I, Grzelak K, Zagórski W, Kierdaszuk B, Kowa K, Fokt I, Szymanski S, Swierk P, Szeja W, Priebe W, Lesyng B, LaRonde-LeBlanc N. Development of novel molecular probes of the Rio1 atypical protein kinase. Biochim Biophys Acta 1834(7):1292-301, 7/2013. e-Pub 3/20/2013. PMID: 23523885.
3. Fokt I, Skora S, Conrad C, Madden T, Emmett M, Priebe W. D-Glucose and D-mannose-based metabolic probes. Part 3: Synthesis of specifically deuterated D-glucose, D-mannose, and 2-deoxy-D-glucose. Carbohydr Res 368:111-9, 3/2013. e-Pub 12/2012. PMID: 23376241.
4. Garnett J, Chumbalkar V, Vaillant B, Gururaj AE, Hill KS, Latha K, Yao J, Priebe W, Colman H, Elferink LA, Bogler O. Regulation of HGF expression by ?EGFR-mediated c-Met activation in glioblastoma cells. Neoplasia 15(1):73-84, 1/2013. PMCID: PMC3556940.
5. Doucette TA, Kong LY, Yang Y, Ferguson SD, Yang J, Wei J, Qiao W, Fuller GN, Bhat KP, Aldape K, Priebe W, Bögler O, Heimberger AB, Rao G. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 promotes angiogenesis and drives malignant progression in glioma. Neuro Oncol 14(9):1136-45, 9/2012. e-Pub 6/2012. PMCID: PMC3424209.
6. Hatiboglu MA, Kong LY, Wei J, Wang Y, McEnery KA, Fuller GN, Qiao W, Davies MA, Priebe W, Heimberger AB. The tumor microenvironment expression of p-STAT3 influences the efficacy of cyclophosphamide with WP1066 in murine melanoma models. Int J Cancer 30(7):8-17, 7/2012. e-Pub 8/2011. PMCID: PMC3319790.
7. Swiatek-Machado K, Mieczkowski J, Ellert-Miklaszewska A, Swierk P, Fokt I, Szymanski S, Skora S, Szeja W, Grynkiewicz G, Lesyng B, Priebe W, Kaminska B. Novel small molecular inhibitors disrupt the JAK/STAT3 and FAK signaling pathways and exhibit a potent antitumor activity in glioma cells. Cancer Biol Ther 13(8):657-70, 6/2012. e-Pub 6/2012. PMID: 22555804.
8. Sai K, Wang S, Balasubramaniyan V, Conrad C, Lang FF, Aldape K, Szymanski S, Fokt I, Dasgupta A, Madden T, Guan S, Chen Z, Alfred Yung WK, Priebe W, Colman H. Induction of cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in glioblastoma stem-like cells by WP1193, a novel small molecule inhibitor of the JAK2/STAT3 pathway. J Neurooncol 107(3):487-501, 5/2012. e-Pub 1/2012. PMID: 22249692.
9. Wei J, Barr J, Kong LY, Wang Y, Wu A, Sharma AK, Gumin J, Henry V, Colman H, Priebe W, Sawaya R, Lang FF, Heimberger AB. Glioblastoma cancer-initiating cells inhibit T-cell proliferation and effector responses by the signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 pathway. Mol Cancer Ther 9(1):67-78, 1/2010. e-Pub 1/6/2010. PMCID: PMC2939737.
10. Nilsson CL, Dillon R, Devakumar A, Shi SD, Greig M, Rogers JC, Krastins B, Rosenblatt M, Kilmer G, Major M, Kaboord BJ, Sarracino D, Rezai T, Prakash A, Lopez M, Ji Y, Priebe W, Lang FF, Colman H, Conrad CA. Quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis of the STAT3/IL-6/HIF1alpha signaling network: an initial study in GSC11 glioblastoma stem cells. J Proteome Res 9(1):430-43, 1/2010. PMID: 19899826.
11. Fokt I, Szymanski S, Skora S, Cybulski M, Madden T, Priebe W. D-Glucose- and D-mannose-based antimetabolites. Part 2. Facile synthesis of 2-deoxy-2-halo-D-glucoses and -D-mannoses. Carbohydr Res 344(12):1464-1473, 8/17/2009. e-Pub 6/21/2009. PMID: 19625015.
12. Kong LY, Wei J, Sharma AK, Barr J, Abou-Ghazal MK, Fokt I, Weinberg J, Rao G, Grimm E, Priebe W, Heimberger AB. A novel phosphorylated STAT3 inhibitor enhances T cell cytotoxicity against melanoma through inhibition of regulatory T cells. Cancer Immunol Immunother 58(7):1023-32, 7/2009. e-Pub 11/11/2008. PMCID: PMC2674523.
13. Gao H, Priebe W, Glod J, Banerjee D. Activation of Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription 3 and Focal Adhesion Kinase by Stromal Cell-Derived Factor 1 Is Required for Migration of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Response to Tumor Cell-Conditioned Medium. Stem Cells 27(4):857-865, 4/2009. PMID: 19350687.
14. Abou-Ghazal M, Yang DS, Qiao W, Reina-Ortiz C, Wei J, Kong LY, Fuller GN, Hiraoka N, Priebe W, Sawaya R, Heimberger AB. The incidence, correlation with tumor-infiltrating inflammation, and prognosis of phosphorylated STAT3 expression in human gliomas. Clin Cancer Res 14(24):8228-35, 12/15/2008. PMCID: PMC2605668.
15. Heimberger AB, Priebe W. Small Molecular Inhibitors of p-STAT3: Novel Agents for Treatment of Primary and Metastatic CNS Cancers. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov 3(3):179-88, 11/2008. PMID: 18991807.
16. van Schalkwyk DA, Priebe W, Saliba KJ. The inhibitory effect of 2-halo derivatives of D-glucose on glycolysis and on the proliferation of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 327(2):511-7, 11/2008. e-Pub 8/2008. PMID: 18713952.
17. Kong LY, Abou-Ghazal MK, Wei J, Chakraborty A, Sun W, Qiao W, Fuller GN, Fokt I, Grimm EA, Schmittling RJ, Archer GE, Sampson JH, Priebe W, Heimberger AB. A novel inhibitor of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 activation is efficacious against established central nervous system melanoma and inhibits regulatory T cells. Clin Cancer Res 14(18):5759-68, 9/15/2008. PMCID: PMC2583362.
18. Corvis Y, Korchowiec B, Korchowiec J, Badis M, Mironiuk-Puchalska E, Fokt I, Priebe W, Rogalska E. Complexation of metal ions in Langmuir films formed with two amphiphilic dioxadithia crown ethers. J Phys Chem B 112(35):10953-63, 9/4/2008. e-Pub 8/12/2008. PMID: 18698707.
19. Bednarek E, Sitkowski J, Kawecki R, Kozerski L, Bocian W, Pazderski L, Priebe W. Structure and dynamics of methyl cis-3,4-diamino-2,3,4,6-tetradeoxy-alpha-l-lyxo-hexopyranoside complexes with PtCl(2) and PdCl(2), by (1)H, (2)H, (13)C, (15)N and (195)Pt NMR spectroscopy in DMSO, CD(3)CN and H(2)O. Dalton Trans N/A(31):4129-37, 8/2008. e-Pub 7/2008. PMID: 18688431.
20. Verstovsek S, Manshouri T, Quintás-Cardama A, Harris D, Cortes J, Giles FJ, Kantarjian H, Priebe W, Estrov Z. WP1066, a novel JAK2 inhibitor, suppresses proliferation and induces apoptosis in erythroid human cells carrying the JAK2 V617F mutation. Clin Cancer Res 14(3):788-796, 2/1/2008. PMID: 18245540.
21. Gruber BM, Anuszewska EL, Bubko I, Kasprzycka-Guttman T, Misiewicz I, Skupinska K, Fokt I, Priebe W. NF kappa B activation and drug sensitivity in human neoplastic cells treated with anthracyclines. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica 65(2):267-71, 2008. PMID: 18666436.
22. Ferrajoli A, Faderl S, Van Q, Koch P, Harris D, Liu Z, Hazan-Halevy I, Wang Y, Kantarjian HM, Priebe W, Estrov Z. WP1066 disrupts Janus kinase-2 and induces caspase-dependent apoptosis in acute myelogenous leukemia cells. Cancer Res 67(23):11291-9, 12/1/2007. PMID: 18056455.
23. Tamura A, Onishi Y, An R, Koshiba S, Wakabayashi K, Hoshijima K, Priebe W, Yoshida T, Kometani S, Matsubara T, Mikuriya K, Ishikawa T. In Vitro Evaluation of Photosensitivity Risk related to Genetic Polymorphisms of Human ABC Transporter ABCG2 and Inhibition by Drugs. Drug Metab Pharmacokinet 22(6):428-440, 12/2007. PMID: 18159130.
24. Hussain SF, Kong LY, Jordan J, Conrad C, Madden T, Fokt I, Priebe W, Heimberger AB. A novel small molecule inhibitor of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 reverses immune tolerance in malignant glioma patients. Cancer Res 67(20):9630-6, 10/15/2007. PMID: 17942891.
25. Zheng M, Priebe W, Walch ET, Roth KG, Han M, Tang CH, Lee S, Poindexter NJ, Fokt I, Grimm EA. WP760, a melanoma selective drug. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 60(5):625-33, 10/2007. e-Pub 12/2006. PMID: 17195067.
26. Bidwell GL, Davis AN, Fokt I, Priebe W, Raucher D. A thermally targeted elastin-like polypeptide-doxorubicin conjugate overcomes drug resistance. Invest New Drugs 25(4):313-26, 8/2007. e-Pub 5/5/2007. PMID: 17483874.
27. Gruber BM, Anuszewska EL, Bubko I, Gozdzik A, Fokt I, Priebe W. Effect of structural modification at the 4, 3', and 2' positions of doxorubicin on topoisomerase II poisoning, apoptosis, and cytotoxicity in human melanoma cells. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz) 55(3):193-8, May-Jun, 5/2007. e-Pub 6/2007. PMCID: PMC2765644.
28. Bartholomeusz GA, Talpaz M, Kapuria V, Kong LY, Wang S, Estrov Z, Priebe W, Wu J, Donato NJ. Activation of a novel Bcr/Abl destruction pathway by WP1130 induces apoptosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia cells. Blood 109(8):3470-3478, 4/15/2007. e-Pub 1/3/2007. PMCID: PMC1852235.
29. Mansilla S, Rojas M, Bataller M, Priebe W, Portugal J. Circumvention of the multidrug-resistance protein (MRP-1) by an antitumor drug through specific inhibition of gene transcription in breast tumor cells. Biochem Pharmacol 73(7):934-42, 4/1/2007. e-Pub 12/10/2006. PMID: 17217917.
30. Iwamaru A, Szymanski S, Iwado E, Aoki H, Yokoyama T, Fokt I, Hess K, Conrad C, Madden T, Sawaya R, Kondo S, Priebe W, Kondo Y. A novel inhibitor of the STAT3 pathway induces apoptosis in malignant glioma cells both in vitro and in vivo. Oncogene 26(17):2435-2444, 4/2007. e-Pub 10/2006. PMID: 17043651.
31. Brooks TA, O'Loughlin KL, Minderman H, Bundy BN, Ford LA, Vredenburg MR, Bernacki RJ, Priebe W, Baer MR. The 4'-O-benzylated doxorubicin analog WP744 overcomes resistance mediated by P-glycoprotein, multidrug resistance protein and breast cancer resistance protein in cell lines and acute myeloid leukemia cells. Invest New Drugs 25(2):115-122, 4/2007. e-Pub 10/28/2006. PMID: 17072745.
32. Bidwell GL, Fokt I, Priebe W, Raucher D. Development of elastin-like polypeptide for thermally targeted delivery of doxorubicin. Biochem Pharmacol 73(5):620-31, 3/1/2007. e-Pub 11/10/2006. PMID: 17161827.
33. Tabe Y, Jin L, Tsutsumi-Ishii Y, Xu Y, McQueen T, Priebe W, Mills GB, Ohsaka A, Nagaoka I, Andreeff M, Konopleva M. Activation of integrin-linked kinase is a critical prosurvival pathway induced in leukemic cells by bone marrow-derived stromal cells. Cancer Res 67(2):684-694, 1/15/2007. PMID: 17234779.
34. Lampidis TJ, Kurtoglu M, Maher JC, Liu H, Krishan A, Sheft V, Szymanski S, Fokt I, Rudnicki WR, Ginalski K, Lesyng B, Priebe W. Efficacy of 2-halogen substituted D-glucose analogs in blocking glycolysis and killing "hypoxic tumor cells". Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 58(6):725-34, 12/2006. e-Pub 3/2006. PMID: 16555088.
35. Mansilla S, Priebe W, Portugal J. Transcriptional changes facilitate mitotic catastrophe in tumor cells that contain functional p53. Eur J Pharmacol 540(1-3):34-45, 7/2006. e-Pub 4/2006. PMID: 16735036.
36. Mansilla S, Priebe W, Portugal J. Mitotic catastrophe results in cell death by caspase-dependent and caspase-independent mechanisms. Cell Cycle 5(1):53-60, 1/2006. e-Pub 1/2006. PMID: 16319532.
37. Gruber BM, Anuszewska EL, Bubko I, Gozdzik A, Priebe W, Fokt I. Relationship between topoisomerase II-DNA cleavable complexes, apoptosis and cytotoxic activity of anthracyclines in human cervix carcinoma cells. Anticancer Res 25(3B):2193-8, May-Jun, 5/2005. PMID: 16158963.
38. Faderl S, Ferrajoli A, Harris D, Van Q, Priebe W, Estrov Z. WP-1034, a novel JAK-STAT inhibitor, with proapoptotic and antileukemic activity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Anticancer Res 25(3B):1841-50, May-Jun, 5/2005. PMID: 16158916.
39. Frelek J, Kaminska A, Pakulski Z, Szmigielski R, Priebe W. Chirality Probing of Chlorotetrabutyratodiruthenium (II,III) Complexes with vic-Amino Alcohols by Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy. Polish J. Chem. 79:387-399, 2005.
40. Fokt I, Grynkiewicz G, Skibicki P, Przewloka T, Priebe W. New Strategies Towards Synthesis of Doxorubicin Analogs. Polish J. Chem. 79:349-359, 2005.
41. Fox KR, Webster R, Phelps RJ, Fokt I, Priebe W. Sequence selective binding of bis-daunorubicin WP631 to DNA. Eur J Biochem 271(17):3556-66, 9/2004. PMID: 15317591.
42. Mansilla S, Priebe W, Portugal J. Sp1-targeted inhibition of gene transcription by WP631 in transfected lymphocytes. Biochemistry 43(23):7584-92, 6/15/2004. PMID: 15182200.
43. Pozarowski P, Huang X, Gong RW, Priebe W, Darzynkiewicz Z. Simple, semiautomatic assay of cytostatic and cytotoxic effects of antitumor drugs by laser scanning cytometry: effects of the bis-intercalator WP631 on growth and cell cycle of T-24 cells. Cytometry A 57(2):113-9, 2/2004. PMID: 14750133.
44. Maschek G, Savaraj N, Priebe W, Braunschweiger P, Hamilton K, Tidmarsh GF, De Young LR, Lampidis TJ. 2-deoxy-D-glucose increases the efficacy of adriamycin and paclitaxel in human osteosarcoma and non-small cell lung cancers in vivo. Cancer Res 64(1):31-4, 1/1/2004. PMID: 14729604.
45. Gruber BM, Anuszewska EL, Priebe W. The effect of new anthracycline derivatives on the induction of apoptotic processes in human neoplastic cells. Folia Histochem Cytobiol 42(2):127-30, 2004. PMID: 15253137.
46. Samochocka K, Fokt I, Anulewicz-Ostrowska R, Przewloka T, Mazurek AP, Fuks L, Lewandowski W, Kozerski L, Bocian W, Bednarek E, Lewandowska H, Sitkowski J Priebe W. Platinum(II) and Palladium(II) Complexes with Methyl 3,4-diamino-2,3,4,6 tetradeoxy-a-L-lyxo-hexopyranoside. Dalton Trans:2177-83, 2003.
47. Faderl S, Estrov Z, Kantarjian HM, Harris D, Van Q, Fokt I, Przewloka T, Godlewski C, Woynarowski JM, Priebe W. WP744, a novel anthracycline with enhanced proapoptotic and antileukemic activity. Anticancer Res 21(6A):3777-84, 11/2001. PMID: 11911247.
48. Liu H, Hu YP, Savaraj N, Priebe W, Lampidis TJ. Hypersensitization of tumor cells to glycolytic inhibitors. Biochemistry 40(18):5542-7, 5/2001. PMID: 11331019.
49. Lang F, Hossain A, Gumin J, Gao F, Figueroa J, Shinojima N, Takezaki T, Priebe W, DeRosa D, Kang SG, Joyce C,. Mesenchymal stem cells isolated from human gliomas increase proliferation and maintain stemness of glioma. Stem Cells. Submitted.

Invited Articles

1. Priebe, W. Anthracycline Chemistry and Biology 1: Biological Occurrence and Biosynthesis, Synthesis and Chemistry. Journal of the American Chemical Society 131(23):8335, 3/2009.


1. Olbryt M, Rusin A, Fokt I, Habryka A, Sochanik A, Priebe W. Anti-melanoma activity of WP760 in various in vitro culturing conditions. Proceedings: 9th Int. Conf. of Anticancer Research 34(10):6086-6086 (#466), 10/2014.
2. Zielinski R, Rusin A, Priebe A, Arumugam J, Venugopal R, Skora S, Fokt I, Priebe W. STAT3/STAT5 blockade by WP1066 inhibits ovarian cancer cell proliferation and induces cell death. Proceedings: AACR Annual Meeting 2014; April 5-9, 2014; San Diego, CA 74(21) (#3806), 10/2014.
3. Jayakumar A, Venugopal R, Fleming J, Kang Y, Rusin A, Zielinski R, Skora S, Fokt I, Priebe W. Status of STAT3, STAT5, and NF-κB in pancreatic cancer cell lines, small molecule inhibitors, and potential clinical implications. Proceedings: AACR Annual Meeting 2014; April 5-9, 2014; San Diego, CA 74(21) (#2946), 10/2014. e-Pub 10/2014.
4. Fokt I, Krawczyk M, Kosinski S, Skora S, Cybulski M, Priebe W. Facile, selective one-pot synthesis of 4-O-benzylated glycals. 247th ACS National Meeting, Dallas, TX, 3/2014.
5. Fokt I, Skora S, Conrad C, Madden T, Emmett M, Priebe W. D-Glucose and D-mannose-based metabolic probes. Part 3: Synthesis of specifically deuterated D-glucose, D-mannose, and 2-deoxy-D-glucose. 245th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, New Orleans, LA, United States (#26154), 4/2013.
6. Young A. Choi, Hetal Pandya, Denise M. Gibo, Izabela Fokt, Waldemar Priebe, Waldemar Debinski. Nucleus-targeted doxorubicin as a potential therapy for glioblastoma. Neuro Oncology 15(3):iii37-iii61 (#ET-014), 3/2013.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Modulation of Anti-Angiogenic Resistance in Renal Cell Carcinoma
Funding Source: UTMDACC-Kidney Cancer Research Program
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 4/1/2013 - 3/31/2014
Title: Concerted Blockade of the HIF-1-alpha/STAT3/5 Oncogenic Axis: A Novel Therapeutic Approach to Multiple Myeloma
Funding Source: DRP - Multiple Myeloma SPORE MDACC
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2012 - 8/31/2014
Title: Global Academic Program, Targeting Resistance to BRAF Inhibitors with WP760, a Melanoma Selective Agent
Funding Source: Sister Institution, UTMDACC
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 7/15/2012 - 7/14/2014
Title: Concerted Targeting the STAT3/HIF-1α Oncogenic Axis in Pancreatic Cancer
Funding Source: Skip Viragh Foundation
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 7/1/2012 - 6/30/2017

Last updated: 12/2/2014