The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research was founded in 2007. It is the successor to MIT’s Center for Cancer Research, which was founded in 1974 and received its NCI designation in that same year. This designation has been maintained continuously since that time. The Koch Institute builds on the tradition of excellent cancer science at MIT and promotes the development of new insights, tools, technologies to better treat, diagnose, and monitor the disease through the addition of a large number of cancer-oriented engineering faculties.
The Koch Institute’s faculties are cancer biologists; chemists; materials science, chemical, electrical and biological engineers; computer scientists; and others, all dedicated to bringing the most advanced science and technology to bear in the fight against cancer. The work of the Institute is highly interdisciplinary, and researchers engage in genuine collaboration to advance cancer solutions. As part of MIT’s effort to train the next generation of cancer investigators, the Koch Institute includes hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers.
The strategic plan for the Institute revolves around four research programs: Molecular Genetics and Immunology, Cancer Biology, Cell and Systems Biology, and Engineering Science and Technology. Research and development in each of these programs involves cross-disciplinary teams of faculty, students, and staff. To add strength to their efforts, they also encompass collaborations with clinical, industrial, and organizational partners.
The Koch Institute is committed to shortening the time needed for breakthrough discoveries to directly benefit cancer patients. Research partnerships with medical schools, hospitals, and industry expand the reach of MIT’s cancer research into pre-clinical and translational projects. Through the Bridge Project, a joint program of the Koch Institute and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, researchers from both NCI-designated cancer centers in Massachusetts form cross-disciplinary teams to bring bioengineering, advanced cancer science, and clinical oncology together to solve today’s most challenging problems in cancer research and care. In addition, the Koch Institute’s Clinical Investigator program provides support for physician-scientists to conduct cancer research at MIT while maintaining clinical activity at oncology treatment centers in Boston. The Koch Institute has also developed important translational partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies and has spun out a number of biotechnology and medical device companies as well.
The Koch Institute’s facility on the MIT campus, completed in 2010, 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 building is the Swanson Biotechnology Center, which provides 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.