Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Susan G. Komen Scholar’s breast cancer research making a big impact

Breast Cancer

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Susan G. Komen Scholar, Dr. Matthew Ellis has dedicated much of his life’s work to breast cancer research, thus helping out the non-profit in the process.

“You can’t not get involved in Susan G. Komen if you do breast cancer research,” said Dr. Ellis.

For over 30 years, Dr. Ellis has been committed to finding a cure for breast cancer.

“In the late 1980s, early 1990s there was a flowering in this area called molecular biology where we could actually understand a little bit about how the cancers were developed. What made them tick and eventually how to treat them. This idea that maybe we can solve this problem scientifically was very compelling to me,” said Dr. Ellis.

Dr. Ellis serves as the Director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

One of his other titles is Komen Scholar.

“The Komen Scholar program is sort of the lead physician scientist structure that advises Komen about their research directions. It also helps them interpret ongoing information regarding the care of breast cancer patients. A Komen scholar will also get some funding for his or her research. That’s obviously appealing for us to serve of course because we then use that money in constructive ways to further breast cancer outcomes, screening or whatever,” said Dr. Ellis

Dr. Ellis’s research deals more specifically with patients on an individual level.

“Every woman is a little bit different right? So they evolve differently in different people in different ways and so this idea on how the tumor evolves, how it evades treatment. What are the genes serving those purposes? How can we intervene is basically what I do. Komen has funded all sorts of innovative ideas,” said Dr. Ellis

For Dr. Ellis, Susan G. Komen serves as not only a place to help him with breast cancer research but as a family.

“It’s that kind of a relationship. It’s highly supportive, very productive, very friendly and very thoughtful and very compassionate. If every area of medicine had a Susan G. Komen, I think medicine would progress faster,” said Dr. Ellis.

Dr. Ellis said he encourages people to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the virus is negatively affecting mammography screening rates.

Dr. Ellis also adds that the COVID-19 represents a risk to patients who are receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer because they’re immuno-suppressed.

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