My name is Lewis Cantley. I'm director of the cancer center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
About 20 years ago, my laboratory discovered an enzyme called PI3-kinase, abbreviated PI3K. We discovered this enzyme because it co-purified with oncogenes that cause cancers in mice and in chickens and again studying the mechanism by which it caused these cancers.
Within the last five or ten years it's now become apparent that this same pathway is very frequently mutated in human cancers, particularly solid tumors.
Now what's exciting about this discovery is that PI3K itself is what pharmaceutical companies would call a "druggable" target. It's an enzyme that could be hit with a small molecule, and as a consequence drugs are being developed to target this pathway and there's a lot of excitement that these drugs will have an effect in human cancers.