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David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Basic Laboratory Cancer Center

Matthew Vander Heiden, M.D., Ph.D., Director

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Main: (617) 253-6403

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The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT was established in 2007 to bring scientists and engineers together to solve the most pressing problems in cancer. The Koch Institute builds on the legacy of the MIT Center for Cancer Research (CCR) and has maintained the NCI designation since 1974.

The Koch Institute’s state-of-the-art facilities are a hub for cancer research on the MIT campus. The Koch Institute building houses faculty members from the Department of Biology (formerly in the MIT Center for Cancer Research) with faculty members drawn from a variety of departments in the MIT School of Engineering in one physical location. The Koch Institute faculty also includes many members from the Whitehead and Broad Institutes. This interdisciplinary and collaborative group of investigators is at the core of the Koch Institute’s mission to develop new insights into cancer, as well as new tools, technologies, and collaborative, theme-focused centers to better treat, diagnose, and prevent the disease.

Research at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

The Koch Institute is taking an interdisciplinary approach to explore five complementary areas of research that are critical for rapid progress toward controlling cancer. Koch Institute researchers, including members of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at MIT, are combining nanotechnology with biological know-how to engineer new therapeutic agents to target tumor cells and destroy them. This center also focuses on creating novel devices that have the potential to reveal cancer at very early stages and continuously monitor the disease during and after treatment for signals of remission or relapse, including triggering automatic drug delivery systems for therapeutic interventions.

Under the aegis of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology, the institute’s researchers are exploring the molecular and cellular basis of metastasis by identifying the genes and the cellular interactions that encourage this process. This helps them develop new ways to predict which cancers are likely to metastasize and intervene before the process begins.

Koch Institute researchers, collaborating through the MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine, are advancing precision cancer medicine by building a blueprint of the vast molecular network of the cancer cell and its environment, leading to better, more sophisticated tumor- and patient-specific strategies to control cancer and combat drug resistance.

In addition, institute researchers are exploring in-depth the relationship between the immune system and cancer to understand and overcome the failed immune response, as well as to create therapeutic immuno-agents through state-of-the-art engineering methods.

Select Scientific Initiatives at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

The Koch Institute maintains research partnerships with medical schools, hospitals, and industry to accelerate the translation of breakthrough discoveries into direct benefits for cancer patients. Two Koch Institute programs include:

  • The Bridge Project, a collaboration between the Koch Institute and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center researchers designed to bring bioengineering, advanced cancer science, and clinical oncology together to solve the most challenging problems in cancer research and care.
  • The Clinical Investigator program, which provides support for physician–scientists to conduct cancer research at MIT while fulfilling responsibilities in the clinic at oncology treatment centers in the Boston area.

This profile was provided by Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.

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