Dr. Matthew Ellis, director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine, has been named recipient of the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture, an honor given annually to an oncologist for outstanding contributions to basic or translational research in breast cancer and exceptional mentoring abilities.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology is one the largest and most influential oncology professional societies, with more than 35,000 members around the world.

Pioneer in research

Ellis, a McNair Scholar in breast cancer at Baylor, has been a pioneer in breast cancer genomics. He has identified groundbreaking new information about mutations in breast cancer and their clinical relevance.

He has been instrumental in developing a Genome Atlas and Therapeutic Road Map for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

His most recent work revealed that metastatic breast tumors initially positive for the estrogen receptor frequently harbor mutations and even translocations in the receptor that render the tumor resistant to endocrine therapies used to block estrogen. Several laboratories are now trying to develop new drugs that will block these mutant receptors.

His work in identifying targetable mutations in the HER2 gene was also cited in the award. 

Fellowship grant

As part of the award, Ellis will receive a one-year fellowship grant from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO to recruit an early-career clinical or translational breast cancer researcher.

Additionally, Ellis will be presented with the award and give a special lecture at the Society’s Breast Cancer Symposium Sept. 25 – 27 in San Francisco. 

Ellis is a funded scholar of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure. He also serves as a professor of medicine and member of the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor.