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Paul Marks prize recognizes 3 young cancer researchers
Date:9/28/2009

r regulator of that. The mTOR pathway can sense an outside or internal stimulus related to growth, and the pathway has to be turned on for the cell to grow."

Dr. Sabatini discovered mTOR when he was studying the small molecule rapamycin, a compound that was known to have immunosuppressive and anticancer properties. (mTOR stands for mammalian target of rapamycin.) Two derivatives of rapamycin, temsirolimus (Torisel) and everolimus (Afinitor), both of which target the mTOR pathway, are now approved for the treatment of kidney cancer.

His work with mTOR required him to develop many new technologies that are now being used in laboratories around the world to study signaling pathways, including cell-based microarrays and tools related to RNA interference (RNAi). He has been a leader in the RNAi Consortium, a multi-institutional effort to generate a library of RNAi reagents targeting every human gene.

Because the mTOR pathway is regulated by nutrients, much of Dr. Sabatini's current work is focused on how metabolism, including the restriction of calories in the diet, affects cancer. He is developing mouse models with gene mutations that mimic the effects of extremely low-calorie diets by restricting the mTOR pathway.

"David seizes opportunities, embraces collaborations, and is not daunted by the complexity of cellular regulation of metabolism," said Robert A. Weinberg, a member of the Whitehead Institute and Director of the MIT Ludwig Center for Cancer Research, who nominated Dr. Sabatini. "I strongly believe that he is on the trajectory to becoming one of the most influential scientists in the field of cellular energy metabolism and its multiple intersections with cancer research."

Dr. Sabatini earned his MD and PhD degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


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Contact: Kathleen Gibson
gibsonk@mskcc.org
212-639-3573
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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