The work: Dr. Cantley’s research focuses on understanding the pathways that regulate normal cell growth and the defects that cause cell transformation leading to cancer. Along with colleagues he discovered a growth signaling molecule called phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), a key factor in tumor growth. His discovery showcased a new language of how cells control themselves internally.
The impact: He has worked to identify new treatments for cancers that result from defects in the pathway. His discovery has resulted in various treatments for personalized cancer therapy and diabetes.
Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D., is the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor and Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Cantley grew up in West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1971. He obtained a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Cornell University in 1975 and did postdoctoral training at Harvard University. Prior to taking the position at Weill Cornell, he taught and did research in biochemistry, physiology and cancer biology in Boston, most recently at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. His laboratory discovered the PI 3-Kinase pathway that plays a critical role in insulin signaling and in cancers.
Dr. Cantley was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001. Among his other awards are the ASBMB Avanti Award for Lipid Research in 1998, the Heinrich Weiland Preis for Lipid Research in 2000, the Caledonian Prize from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2002, the 2005 Pezcoller Foundation–AACR International Award for Cancer Research, the 2009 Rolf Luft Award for Diabetes and Endocrinology Research from the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, the 2011 Pasrow Prize for Cancer Research, the 2013 Breakthrough in Life Sciences Prize and the 2013 Jacobaeus Prize for Diabetes Research from the Karolinska Institute. Elected into the Institute of Medicine 2014.