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Dr. Tony Hunter, American Cancer Society Professor, Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, Renato Dulbecco Chair
March 25, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Tony Hunter, PhD, is a Salk scientist and American Cancer Society Professor.
Dr. Hunter made the seminal discovery, more than four decades ago, that the addition and subtraction of phosphate molecules to proteins on tyrosine, one of the 20 amino acids, allows cells to control when key proteins are on standby and when they are active. He went on to show that, in cancers, growth was switched to an always-on mode by the malfunctions of these phosphates. Since then, his lab has led the field in understanding how chemical additions to proteins control the cell cycle and growth. Dr. Hunter uses cutting-edge molecular, genetic and cell biology techniques to probe how these programs interact with each other, what effect they have on cells and how cancers disrupt them to encourage uninhibited growth. Already, cancer drugs—such as the leukemia therapy Gleevec™—have been designed based on Hunter’s discoveries. Gleevec turns off an enzyme that normally adds phosphates to tyrosines in proteins, thus preventing cancers from growing. As Hunter continues to discover other ways in which cells use chemical additions to proteins to control their growth, he aims to find potential therapeutic targets for cancers.
Dr. Hunter will talk about his major discovery that led to the drug, Gleevec and the research he is currently conducting through his NCI Outstanding Investigator Award, which supports accomplished leaders in cancer research.