Professor of Biochemistry, Biozentrum of the University of Basel, Switzerland
The Szent-Györgyi Prize selection committee was unanimous in its decision to recognize Dr. Hall, who discovered one of the most important cancer cell targets in the modern era of oncology, which he named “Target of Rapamycin” or TOR. The protein has been proven to control cell growth and a wide range of metabolic processes that, when dysregulated, cause disorders such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Dr. Hall’s research has also shown that cell growth is not a spontaneous process that “just happens” when building blocks (nutrients) are available but rather a highly regulated, plastic process controlled by TOR-dependent signaling pathways. As a central controller of cell growth and metabolism, TOR plays a key role in development and aging.
TOR inhibitors are used today in treatments for kidney, breast, brain and pancreatic cancers, and numerous clinical trials for other cancer treatments are underway.