David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Center for Cancer Research at MIT was founded in 1974. In that same year, MIT became an NCI-designated cancer center. In 2007, the Koch Institute was formed to combine the faculty of the Center with an equivalent number of distinguished engineers from other MIT departments. The Institute both builds on the Center’s tradition of scientific excellence and promotes the development of innovative ways to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancer through advanced technology.
The Koch Institute’s faculty are drawn from the departments of biology; chemistry; physics; chemical, mechanical, and biological engineering; electrical engineering and computer science; and materials science and engineering. The work of the Institute is highly collaborative and uses cross-disciplinary teams. As part of MIT’s effort to train the next generation of cancer investigators, these teams include hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers.
The strategic plan for the Institute revolves around five target areas critical for rapid progress toward controlling cancer: developing nanotechnology-based cancer therapeutics, creating novel devices for cancer detection and monitoring, exploring the molecular and cellular basis of metastasis, conducting systematic analysis of cancer pathways and drug resistance, and engineering the immune system to fight cancer. Research and development in each of these target areas involves cross-disciplinary teams of faculty, students, and staff. They will also encompass collaborations with clinical centers and industry.
The Koch Institute is committed to shortening the time needed for breakthrough discoveries to directly benefit cancer patients. Research partnerships with medical schools and hospitals expand the reach of MIT’s cancer research into pre-clinical and translational projects. Investigators collaborate with clinical researchers at the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and other entities in New England and beyond. In addition, the Clinical Investigators program provides support for physician-scientists to conduct cancer research in space adjacent to the faculty laboratories, while maintaining clinical activity at oncology treatment centers in Boston.
A new cancer research and technology facility on the MIT campus provides space for 600 cancer researchers to deploy leading-edge technology, engineering, biology, and computation to invent new and more effective ways to address cancer. The collaboration of Institute researchers with over 20 other MIT departments and laboratories brings MIT’s total interdisciplinary cancer research force to over 1,000, augmented by the Institute’s proximity to more than 90 biotechnology and biopharmaceutical firms and 14 hospitals. Included in the new building, which opened in 2010, will be the Swanson Biotechnology Center, providing technical tools, services, and training to the Institute’s life scientists and engineers.
* This cancer center is one of seven cancer centers that only conduct laboratory research and do not provide patient care.
* This profile was provided by the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.