MIT Koch Institute
April 11, 2022
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT announced today it was awarded more than $6 million in grants to intercept cancer at the earliest stages and find treatments for several of the deadliest cancers including pancreatic and ovarian cancers, and glioblastoma (GBM) — diseases with poor prognoses in which progress has been slow.
This work is funded by Break Through Cancer and is a part of $50 million in grants being made to teams across five cancer research centers: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This new model for collaboration enables researchers to tackle some of the biggest challenges in cancer. Break Through Cancer’s innovative approach will help overcome conventional barriers to multi-institution teamwork by using streamlined systems and advanced analytics for data sharing in real time.
“Scientists, engineers, pathologists, surgeons, and physicians bring wholly unique perspectives, expertise, and experience to the table,” said Matthew Vander Heiden, MD, PhD, director of the Koch Institute at MIT, the Lester Wolfe (1919) Professor of Molecular Biology, professor of Biology, and member of the Break Through Cancer board of directors. “As an institution built on collaboration across disciplines, the Koch Institute’s research model is a natural match for Break Through Cancer’s visionary approach. We are excited work with the Foundation’s collaborating institutions to meet the challenges of some of the world’s most complex cancers.”
All Break Through Cancer-funded projects will employ a model that enables researchers and physicians from each institution to work collaboratively in real time. Additionally, new technology and systems will make data sharing easier. Reducing the day-to-day barriers to cross-institutional collaboration such as contract negotiations, data sharing, intellectual property, and rights to authorship will pave the way for faster discoveries.
Projects have been funded based on their unique cohort of researchers and potentially transformational science. They include:
- Intercepting Ovarian Cancer
- Targeting Minimal Residual Disease in Ovarian Cancer
- Conquering KRAS in Pancreatic Cancer (in partnership with the Lustgarten Foundation)
- Revolutionizing GBM Drug Development Through Serial Biopsies
“This project is exciting because diagnosing ovarian cancer earlier is crucial to improving patient survival,” said Angela Belcher, PhD, the James Mason Crafts Professor of Biological Engineering and Materials Science, head of the Department of Biological Engineering, member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, and member of the Intercepting Ovarian Cancer team. “By understanding the prevalence of early lesions better, we hope to move a step closer to early cancer detection, and even better yet, help prevent this awful cancer.”
About Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, a National Cancer Institute-designated Basic Cancer Research Center, is the hub of cancer research on the MIT campus. Bringing together biologists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists, clinicians, and others in a state-of-the-art facility, the Koch Institute offers fresh perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches to advancing the fight against cancer. Working within the vibrant MIT research community and with external collaborators, including NCI-designated clinical cancer centers and biotech/pharma partners, the Koch Institute is dedicated to developing novel insights into cancer, as well as new tools and technologies to better detect, treat, and prevent the disease.
About Break Through Cancer
Founded in 2021, Break Through Cancer empowers outstanding researchers and physicians to both intercept cancer at the earliest stages, and find cures for several of the deadliest cancers by stimulating radical collaboration among outstanding cancer research institutions, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Break Through Cancer is looking beyond conventional therapies, utilizing new strategies, structures, and thinking from across disciplines to accelerate the pace of discovery.
Break Through Cancer is led by Tyler Jacks, PhD, founding director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology, and Co-director of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology. The Foundation is supported by a board that includes leaders from each of the five Break Through Cancer member institutions. The foundation was launched with an extraordinary challenge pledge of $250 million from Mr. and Mrs. William H. Goodwin, Jr. and their family, and the estate of William Hunter Goodwin III. LinkedIn, Twitter