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Dr. Lewis C. Cantley to Lead Newly Established Cancer Center

Dear Weill Cornell Community,

We are pleased and honored to announce that Dr. Lewis C. Cantley, a leading cancer researcher, credited with discovering a family of enzymes fundamental to understanding cancer, has been named director of the newly established cancer center at Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Cantley is the William Bosworth Castle Chair in Medicine and professor of systems biology at Harvard and director of the Cancer Center and chief of the Division of Signal Transduction at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences USA. He is one of the world's most pre-eminent scientists in both basic and clinical research and a Cornell University alumnus.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's cancer research and clinical care enterprise is already among the best in the nation and the recruitment and appointment of Dr. Cantley, and the establishment of the Cancer Center — an initiative of Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital — marks a critical step in the transformation and acceleration of personalized translational medicine, research and patient-centered clinical care for our cancer patients.

The Center's mission is to create a unique kind of cancer center, one that will truly make precision and personalized medicine for cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment a reality. It will ensure that patients can immediately benefit from the latest discoveries and treatments, especially in clinical trials, while training future researchers and recruiting leaders in cancer research and clinical care.

The Center will establish a vast infrastructure that provides research space, resources and access to the latest state-of-the-art technologies for basic, clinical and translational cancer research, and also support for initiating and conducting novel clinical trials. It will also have a centralized cancer tumor tissue bank, patient database and system for rapidly evaluating each patient's cancer tumor for its genetic profile, associated gene expression and mutations to accelerate each patient's personalized treatment plan or enrollment in clinical trials based on their genetic information. The new Center will be headquartered in the soon-to-be-completed 18-story, $650 million state-of-the-art Belfer Research Building set to open in 2014.

Building off the successes of the Weill Cornell Cancer Center, established in 2008, and its exemplary leadership from cancer physician-scientist Dr. Andrew Dannenberg, the new expansive Cancer Center and its researchers will be on the front lines of the evolution in cancer care.

As director, Dr. Cantley will forge the Cancer Center into a collaborative, multidisciplinary research enterprise focused on gathering Weill Cornell's basic, translational and clinical research expertise under one umbrella, across faculty and departments, and converting cancer research breakthroughs into novel therapies that offer patients immediate access to the latest advanced care available and hope for the future. Dr. Cantley will lead the charge in positioning the Cancer Center and its members as global leaders in personalized cancer treatment and in the design and execution of clinical trials that lead to new approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and cancer treatment.

Dr. Cantley has made significant advances in cancer research stemming from his discovery of the signaling pathway phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) in the mid-'80s, which explains the growth of a cell and has major implications in cancer. His pioneering research discovered that human cancers frequently have mutations in PI3K and, for the past three decades, has worked to identify new treatments for cancers that result from defects in the pathway. This discovery, which has led to one of the most promising avenues for the development of personalized cancer therapies, has since resulted in revolutionary treatments for cancer, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Cantley graduated summa cum laude in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from West Virginia Wesleyan College and obtained a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Cornell University in 1975. He conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard University from 1975 until 1978, when he was appointed assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Cantley was appointed as professor of physiology at Tufts University in 1985, but returned to Harvard Medical School as professor of cell biology in 1992, a position he held until 2003.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Cantley to Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D. and Steven J. Corwin, M.D.

Posted September 13, 2012 11:04 AM | Permalink to this post