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Prof. Bart Vanhaesebroeck University College London, UK1 Talk
Prof. Bart Vanhaesebroeck (BV) is a basic scientist whose pioneering studies on the PI-3-kinase (PI3K) enzymes have led to approved medicines. Following a PhD at Ghent University (Belgium), BV carried out postdoctoral studies at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, London where he was involved in a systematic effort to... read moreisolate the genes encoding PI3Ks. He developed a unique genetic approach to create an unparalleled series of mouse models that uncovered the roles of multiple PI3K family members in human biology, and to faithfully predict PI3K-inhibitor activity in vivo. He discovered the PI3Kdelta isoform and has taken its characterization ‘all the way’, from gene-cloning, through to the development of the first mouse models, uncovering this PI3K as a new drug target in inflammation, allergy, haematological malignancies and, most recently, in solid tumours. This involved the generation of PI3Kdelta inhibitors with PIramed Ltd (acquired by Roche in 2008). Targeting PI3Kdelta has been the most successful clinical PI3K-inhibitor development effort to date, with three PI3K inhibitors, all sharing the ability to inhibit PI3Kdelta, now FDA-approved. Recent work (Nature 2014:510:407) indicates that PI3Kdelta inhibitors also have potential utility in cancer immunotherapy, a concept currently being tested in clinical trials.