Mohamed Bentires-Alj, PharmD, PhD, Honored With 2015 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research

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Mohamed Bentires-Alj, PharmD, PhD

Mohamed Bentires-Alj, PharmD, PhD, was recognized with the 8th Annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, funded by Susan G. Komen. He received the award at the 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research recognizes an investigator of no more than 50 years of age whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far-reaching impact on the etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of breast cancer. Such work may involve any discipline across the continuum of biomedical research, including basic, translational, clinical, and epidemiologic studies.

Seminal Discoveries

Dr. Bentires-Alj, Senior Staff Scientist at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) in Basel, Switzerland, was honored for his seminal work on normal and neoplastic breast cell plasticity, which found that mutant PI3K induces multipotency and multi-lineage mammary tumors and that SHP2 promotes breast cancer progression and maintains tumor- initiating cells.

Dr. Bentires-Alj’s research has revealed that cotargeting PI3K/mTOR and JAK2 in triple-negative breast cancer models decreases tumor volume, seeding, and metastasis and increases overall survival. He also discovered that discontinuation of CCL2 inhibition accelerates breast cancer metastasis by promoting angiogenesis.

Dr. Bentires-Alj is dedicated to discovering new and more effective cancer treatments and to training the next generation of scientists, in addition to his efforts in building bridges between basic research and the clinic. He is also exploring complementary and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the mechanisms of cancer. The Bentires-Alj lab aims to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating normal and neoplastic breast stem cells, progression to metastasis, and resistance to targeted therapy.

Dr. Bentires-Alj received his doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Liège in Liège, Belgium. He completed his postdoctoral work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, where he studied the effects of Gab2 and PTP1B in breast cancer.

In addition, Dr. Bentires-Alj is the Founder and President of the European Network for Breast Development and Cancer and Cofounder of the Basel Breast Consortium. ■