Matthew S. Block, M.D., Ph.D.
- Undergraduate at Whittier College in Whittier, CA (1993-1997, Bachelor of Arts, Biochemistry major)
- Medical Scientist Training Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN (1997-2005, M.D., Ph.D. in Immunology)
- Residency in Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic (2005-2008)
- Medical Oncology fellowship at Mayo Clinic (2008-2011)
- Currently working in the laboratory of Svetomir Markovic, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Block was born and raised in San Carolos, California. He and his wife, Christina, have two young sons.
Preclinical studies using animal models have shown promising results for using vaccines against melanoma to prevent animals from getting melanoma or delay the growth of tumors. Unfortunately, when investigators have conducted clinical trials of similar vaccines in patients with advanced melanoma, the vaccines have not been able to provide the same benefits in human patient that had been seen in the animal models. Furthermore, our lab has shown that unlike experimental animals, human patients with advanced melanoma have problems with certain aspects of their immune system, making them less able to respond appropriately to vaccine treatments. We believe that these immune defects are the result of proteins produced by the melanoma tumors. Our investigations are focused on developing a model system of melanoma in which the tumors produce the same kind of immune system suppression seen in human patients. We will then test methods to restore immune function by blocking the affects of the tumor-secreted proteins so that cancer vaccines may become more effective.