Matthew Benesch is in his final year of the MD/PhD program, having completed his PhD in 2015 in Dr. David Brindley’s lab in Biochemistry and Dr. Todd McMullen’s lab in General Surgery at the University of Alberta.
His research interests include discovering biomarkers that are predictive of cancer therapy resistance and in turn targeting these markers to improve cancer therapy efficacy. One such marker is autotaxin, an ecto-enzyme that produces a lipid called lysophosphatidate.
This lipid is a pro-inflammatory molecule involved in wound healing responses, but its over production is associated with chronic disease progression like arthritis, as well as cancer tumor progression and treatment resistance.
Matthew has worked extensively with novel in vivo inhibitors against autotaxin through multinational collaborations. Autotaxin inhibitors have recently entered human clinical trials as a new class of anti-inflammatories with potential to become cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy adjuncts.
Previously, Matthew earned an Honors B.Sc. Biochemistry degree from the University of Alberta. Some of his awards include the Governor General’s Gold Medal (2015), the AsTech Leaders of Tomorrow Award (2014), the AIHS MD/PhD Scholarship (2013), the Izaak Walton Killiam Memorial Scholarship (2013), and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (2012). Matthew is planning to pursue a surgical residency in Fall 2017.
His publications include:
Benesch MGK, Tang X, Dewald J, Dong WF, Mackey JR, McMullen TPW, Brindley DN. (2015) Tumor-induced inflammation in mammary adipose tissue stimulates a vicious cycle of autotaxin expression and breast tumor progression. FASEB J. 29, 3990-4000.
Benesch MGK, Ko YM, Tang X, Dewald J, Lopez-Campistrous A, Zhao YY, Lai R, Curtis JM, Brindley DN, McMullen TPW. (2015) Autotaxin is an inflammatory mediator and therapeutic target in thyroid cancer. Endocr. Relat. Cancer 22, 593-607.
Benesch MGK, Tang X, Maeda T, Ohhata A, Zhao Y, Kok BPC, Dewald J, Hitt M, Curtis JM, McMullen TPW, Brindley DN. (2014) Inhibition of autotaxin delays breast tumor growth and lung metastasis in mice. FASEB J. 28, 2655-2666.
Benesch MGK, Ko YM, Tang X, McMullen TPW, Brindley DN. (2014) Autotaxin in the crosshairs: Taking aim at cancer and other inflammatory conditions. FEBS Letters 588, 2712-2727.