Dr Ben Lewis is a medical researcher at Flinders University whose interests are focused on developing innovative methods of drug therapy, including a gene directed prodrug therapy model for targeted cancer treatment. Ben has been an integral part of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders University since 2002 with his research focussed on the molecular determinants of diversity in drug and chemical metabolism. Ben completed his PhD in 2011 under the supervision of Professor John Miners and was successively awarded a Flinders University Research Fellowship.
In 2012 he was granted a Flinders University Lectureship in Clinical Pharmacology and has lectured clinical and experimental pharmacology to students undertaking the Bachelor of Medical Science, Master of Optometry, Bachelor of Paramedic Science, and has previously been involved in the education of Nurse Practitioners with prescribing rights. He is currently the coordinator of two Topics: 'Human Pharmacology and Therapeutics' and 'Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics'.
Ben has been awarded a number of scientific prizes for his research including the 2007 Australian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT) Oral Prize, the 2009 Faculty of Health Sciences Student Research Prize, the 2010 Adelaide Pharmacology Group (APG) Meeting Presentation Prize, and the 2010 ASCEPT Drug Disposition Special Interest Group Prize. Ben has published 25 peer-reviewed articles and is the lead supervisor of a new drug discovery laboratory within the Department of Clinical Pharmacology. The focus of this laboratory is the design and synthesis of drugs, using the dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase enzymes as molecular targets for mediating vascular endothelial growth factor-dependent and -independent angiogenesis pathways in cancer. There is increasing evidence that identifies a number of the drugs developed by Ben's group may have potential use as anitimicrobial agents and in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease.
Ben lectures clinical and experimental pharmacology to students undertaking their Bachelor of Medical Science and Master of Optometry, and is a tutor to second year medical students undertaking the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in the School of Medicine at Flinders University.
Ben's research is focused on the design and synthesis of new drug entities, and as such shows strong interest in the fields of structural biology, biochemistry, and molecular pharmacology.
Ben's current research is focusing on the development a cytochrome P450-based gene therapy model for cancer treatment. Ben aims to utilise the body’s own ability to metabolise drugs and chemicals in a way that will activate an ordinarily inactive chemotherapeutic drug. Ben aims to use a retrovirus to target synthesis of the drug activating enzyme (a human protein) specifically in tumor cells, or in a specific tissue type. Administration of the inactive chemotherapeutic drug would circulate through the blood stream to the tumour site where is it then activated into the desired cytotoxic agent. The targeted therapy proposed by Ben should increase exposure of the tumor to the active cytotoxic agent, thus reducing systemic toxicity to the remainder of the body. Treatment options for cancer, such as Ben’s, are desirable to reduce the adverse effects associated with conventional chemotherapy currently used in the clinic today. Ben’s work is funded by the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer and the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation.
In addition to this, Ben and Professor Arduino Mangoni (Head of Clinical Pharmacology) are currently establishing a new angiogenesis laboratory within the Department of Clinical Pharmacology. This laboratory will primarily focus on the role of dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) expression and post-translational modifications on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-dependent and -independent angiogenesis pathways. The research conducted by Ben and Arduino aims to elucidate the modulating effects DDAH may have on VEGF initiated angiogenesis during tumor development. Since a significant number of patients do not respond to anti-VEGF therapy used singly or in combination with other agents, this research is critical for finding alternative molecular targets to treat cancer.
You consent to the use of our cookies if you proceed.