Creating novel devices for cancer detection and monitoring

Early detection and monitoring is critical to mounting effective cancer treatments. The molecular differences that make cancer cells lethal when left unchecked also provide the clues for their detection, identification and visualization.

NCI-designated cancer center

As a National Cancer Institute-designated center for four decades, and as one of only seven NCI-designated basic research centers, MIT is at the center of the nation's efforts to conquer cancer.

Koch Institute Public Galleries

Visitors to the Koch Institute Public Galleries can explore current cancer research projects, examine striking biomedical images, hear personal reflections on cancer and cancer research and investigate the historical, geographical and scientific contexts out of which the Koch Institute emerged.

Robotic Arm

Swanson Biotechnology Center

These 14 shared biotechnology laboratories provide state-of-the-art tools and specialized expertise to Koch Institute researchers, while also bringing together scientists and engineers to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.

Research at the Koch Institute

The Koch Institute brings scientists and engineers together to solve the problems of cancer.  We have identified five areas of research that we believe are critical for rapid progress toward controlling cancer.


In creating a new era for cancer research, the Koch Institute’s greatest assets are its people. Our world renowned faculty unites leadership in multiple fields of science and engineering with a commitment to truly interdisciplinary collaboration.


The Koch Institute engages public audiences of all ages and backgrounds in current cancer research through a variety of public events, youth outreach programs, and online resources about new cancer solutions.


Inside the Lab: Michael Cima

Learn more about the work that Professor Cima’s lab is doing to create tiny nanosensors that are chemically sensitive to different molecules – and how they hope these sensors can be used to help determine proper dosage for chemotherapy.


5 4 3 2 1

Our research is conducted in five areas:

Cancer Immunology

Cancer Immunology

Engineering the immune system to fight cancer... more

Personalized Medicine

Personalized Medicine

Advancing personalized medicine through analysis of cancer pathways and drug resistance... more



Exploring the molecular and cellular basis of metastasis... more

Detection + Monitoring

Detection + Monitoring

Creating novel devices for cancer detection and monitoring... more

Nano-based Drugs

Nano-based Drugs

Developing nanotechnology-based cancer therapeutics... more


With your support, we aim to improve the lives of cancer patients. Our expert cancer biologists and engineers work in tandem to tackle today's most challenging cancer problems and deliver solutions that lead to longer, healthier lives.

Your contributions can make a difference in the fight against cancer. We welcome your help to continue our progress.

News + Events

Benjamin Franklin medal

Frank recognition for Robert Langer

KI member and entrepreneuer Robert S. Langer has been named the 2016 recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Life Science more...

vassar & main

The Koch Institute's corner on innovation

The Koch Institute is featured in Wired UK's exploration of the most productive corner in Cambridge. more...

IWF exhibit

Transforming tomorrow today

KI members Susan Hockfield and Sangeeta Bhatia represented MIT at the International Women's Forum World Leadership Conference in Boston. more...

Bridge Project

$20 million Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research challenge gift to expand collaborative cancer research between Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and MIT’s Koch Institute

The Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research has pledged $20 million to the Bridge Project, a collaborative research program of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, to accelerate the translation of interdisciplinary cancer solutions toward the clinic. more...


Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence

The MIT-Harvard Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence is a collaborative effort among MIT, Harvard University, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women's Hospital. more

Making Tumors Vulnerable

Watch this animation to learn how the Bhatia lab uses nanomaterials to make tumors more susceptible to treatment. more

Sensing Cancer

Watch this animation to see how a tiny, implantable sensor developed by the Cima lab could enable continuous monitoring of cancer. more

Stopping the Spread of Cancer

Watch this animation to learn about the Gertler lab's efforts to understand and fight the deadly process of metastasis. more

Engineering the Immune System

Watch this animation to learn how the Irvine lab uses nanomaterials-based "cell backpacks" to boost the immune response to cancer. more

Cutting off Cancer's Food Supply

Watch this animation to learn how the Vander Heiden lab is working to understand and target cancer metabolism. more

Bridge Project

The Bridge Project is a collaboration between the Koch Institute and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designed to bring bioengineering and clinical oncology together to solve today’s most challenging problems in cancer research and care.

with/in/sight Lecture Series

Join us for a series of evening programs that bring together diverse expert perspectives to discuss emerging cancer solutions.