In the course of his work, Cantley's laboratory developed an oriented peptide library approach that has revealed the structural basis for regulated interaction of signaling proteins and has also led to a bioinformatics approach for predicting signaling pathways on the basis of gene sequences. He is currently exploring the role of PI3K in cancer and diabetes through the development of mouse models in which genes for enzymes in this pathway are altered.
Says Cantley, "I'm honored to have received this award, indicating an international recognition of the importance of PI 3-kinase in human cancer. Over the past 20 years our understanding of PI 3-kinase has progressed from an unusual lipid kinase activity that we found associated with oncogene products, to the central player in a network that controls the growth and survival of cancer cells.
There is now much optimism that the elucidation of this network is revealing effective targets for pharmaceutical intervention in a wide variety of human cancers."
A recipient of numerous awards, Cantley was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001. He serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Cell Biology and is a member of the editorial board at Cell.