A world renowned clinician and expert on breast cancer genomics has just been named the newest McNair Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Matthew Ellis, originally from the United Kingdom, joins the prestigious ranks of 11 other scholars at BCM.
BCM’s McNair Scholar program recognizes accomplished researchers that specialize in breast and pancreatic cancer, childhood diabetes, and neuroscience. These awards are decided on and managed by the McNair Medical Institute, and supported by the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, a private foundation that has supported medical research since 2007 in a number of institutions such as MD Anderson, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Heart Institute and Menninger Clinic, including BCM.
Dr. Ellis’ groundbreaking discovery of genetic aberrations in breast cancer and their clinical impact has become fundamental to the development of a comprehensive Genome Atlas and Therapeutic Road Map for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. His latest findings revealed metastatic breast tumors originally diagnosed as positive for estrogen receptors tend to carry mutations that make the tumor unresponsive to hormonal treatments indicated to counter estrogen. Thanks to Dr. Ellis’ work, pharmaceutical companies are now working on new treatments that can block these mutant receptors.
Dr. Ellis earned his medical degree from the Queens’ College & School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge in England, before proceeding to his postgraduate clinical training at the Royal College of Physicians in London, and pursuing a Ph.D. at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at the University of London.
Before Dr. Ellis’ recruitment to BCM in September 2014, he served as a professor of medicine and head of breast and medical oncology at Washington University School of Medicine. He also taught at Duke University and Georgetown University. Now that Dr. Ellis is at Baylor, he is the director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center.
Dr. Ellis is funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure. At present, he is also a professor of medicine and member of the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM.