Roughly 90% of all cancer deaths are due not to the primary tumor itself but to the effects of the metastatic spread of the disease. Yet virtually nothing is known about this process. How do cancer cells leave their primary site? How do they traverse through the blood system and take up residence elsewhere? How do the metastasized cells succeed in generating a new macroscopic tumor? The Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology is dedicated to identifying the genes and proteins that encourage metastatic spread and the pathways that allow cancer cells to survive and thrive in distant sites in the body.
Established through grants from the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology unites members of the Koch Institute and MIT's extended cancer research community in a mission to unravel the mysteries of metastasis. As part of its focus on tumor invasion and dissemination, the Center is developing new approaches in molecular imaging and cellular detection to identify sites of metastasis early in the disease course and to follow the navigation of metastatic cells throughout the body.
Under the direction of pioneering cancer researcher Robert Weinberg, Ludwig Center investigators are intent on discovering the means to inhibit the initial spread of cancer cells and eliminate them more efficiently, wherever they may reside.
Robert Weinberg, Director