Public Release: 

Dr. Lewis Cantley honored with the 2015 AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship

American Association for Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA -- The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will honor Lewis C. Cantley, PhD, with the ninth annual Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship at the AACR Annual Meeting 2015, to be held in Philadelphia, April 18-22.

Cantley, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, the Margaret and Herman Sokol professor in oncology research, and a professor of cancer biology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, is being recognized for his seminal contributions to the field of growth factor and oncogene signaling.

This lectureship honors his discovery of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) enzyme and his subsequent work delineating the PI3K signaling pathway. His research has shown that this pathway is commonly activated in cancer and has paved the way for the development of therapeutics aimed at inhibiting PI3K signaling. This work is already having a genuine impact on cancer patients.

He will present his lecture, "Targeting PI3K for Cancer Therapy," Monday, April 20, 3:30 p.m. ET, in the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Cantley is also chair of this year's AACR Annual Meeting Scientific Program Committee.

"It is an honor to receive this prestigious award. Princess Takamatsu dedicated her life to improving cancer treatments and the Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund, founded in her honor, has continued this worthy tradition. I am pleased to have a chance to present our research on targeting PI3K for cancer therapy," said Cantley.

The AACR Princess Takamatsu Memorial Lectureship is presented to a scientist whose novel and significant work had or may have a far-reaching impact on the detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer, and who embodies the dedication of the princess to multinational collaborations. Her Imperial Highness Princess Kikuko Takamatsu was instrumental in promoting cancer research and encouraging cancer scientists. She became a champion for these causes following her mother's death from bowel cancer in 1933 at the young age of 43.

A preeminent cancer researcher whose discoveries about the mechanisms that drive the development of cancer has encouraged new approaches to therapy, Cantley is credited with a key role in elucidating the molecular components of several signaling networks that are fundamental to cell growth. His most significant contribution to cancer research has been his 1988 discovery of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) enzyme. This laid the foundation for his subsequent work, which revealed how biochemical signaling pathways control normal cell growth and trigger the development of cancer when they are defective. His demonstration of how PI3K is activated by growth factors and oncogenes, coupled with the delineation of the components of the PI3K signaling pathway, including Akt/PKB, have been critically important for the development of personalized cancer therapies. Cantley's work has also indicated that PI3K is a significant factor in both insulin signaling and immune cell signaling, which has major implications for the treatment of diabetes and other immune-related diseases.

An active AACR member, Cantley is a founding co-editor-in-chief of Cancer Discovery, a member of the AACR board of directors, an elected fellow of the AACR Academy, and a leader of the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team, "Targeting PI3K in Women's Cancers."

Cantley's scientific accomplishments have been recognized with numerous additional honors throughout his career, including the Canada Gairdner International Award, the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the H.C. Jacobaeus Prize, the Pasarow Award for Cancer Research, the Rolf Luft Award from the Karolinska Institute, the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award for Cancer Research, and the Caledonian Prize Lectureship in Biomedical Science from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Additionally, he is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Cantley received his doctorate from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Before joining Weill Cornell Medical College in 2012, Cantley was director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center, chief of the Division of Signal Transduction at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School.


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About the American Association for Cancer Research

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 35,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in 101 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 25 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with over 18,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit

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