The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MITThe David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Cancer Institute Cancer Center

Science + Engineering... Conquering Cancer Together

In the News

Of Mice and Mentorship

From the humble beginnings of the KPC mouse model to cutting-edge developments in gene editing and immunology, the Jacks Lab has always been a place where innovation happens. On September 21, the Lustgarten Foundation honored the lab with a significant investment to advance several key areas of pancreatic cancer research and promote collaboration across MIT. The newly dedicated Lustgarten Laboratory for Pancreatic Cancer Research at MIT will focus on understanding the immunological factors and genetic events that contribute to pancreatic tumors' development, on using organoids and single cell analysis to test new strategies for early detection and treatmet, and on bringing new researchers into the fold.  more...

Function Junction

A recent study from the Yaffe Lab and MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine investigates a subset of more than five hundred human proteins, known as protein kinases, that critically contribute to cancer. Using both computational and experimental methods, the investigators have identified mechanisms by which certain cancer mutations in evolution and cancer may be changing the functions of the kinases, as well as potential avenues for therapeutic intervention.   more...

Speedy Delivery

It's a beautiful day in the Love Lab, where researchers have developed a new way to rapidly manufacture small quantities of biopharmaceuticals on demand. The modular system is small enough to fit on a lab bench, switches easily between producing different drugs, and can make a batch of a drug in a few days. The system will have important applications not just for precision medicine, but also for treating rare diseases, responding to disease outbreaks such as Ebola, and supplying areas that lack large-scale drug manufacturing facilities. In a study published in Nature Biotechnology and featured in Nature Highlights and the NIH Director's Blog, the Love Lab demonstrated their system's capacity to produce clinical-grade therapeutics by producing three different drugs, human growth hormone and cancer medicines interferon alpha 2b and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor.  more...

Startup Roundup

Koch Institute faculty startups are keeping busy. From new investments and partnerships to clinical trials and FDA approvals, KI and MIT research is making its way to patients. Get the scoop from Alnylam, CRISPR Therapeutics, Dragonfly, Glympse Bio, KSQ, Navitor, SQZ Biotech, Suono Bio, Trovagene and Verastem here. Featuring advancements in immuno-oncologgy, precision cancer medicine, cell therapy, pathway inhibition and more, there's a little something for everyone, and good news for patients across the board. more...

Trainees on Track

Congratulations to Bhatia Lab postdoc Quinton Smith, one of 15 researchers nationwide to win a 2018 Hanna Gray Fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for their exceptional potential to be leaders in the life sciences.

A gold star for Langer Lab postdoc Ameya Kirtane, who was named a STAT 2018 Wunderkind for his work on an oral once-weekly drug delivery system. Once the star-shaped capsule is ingested, the points unfold to release doses over the week before the structure distintegrates to pass through the gastrointestinal tract.

In a MIT Technology Review profile, Colin Buss, Bhatia Lab grad student, talks about how he was inspired to trade medicine for medical research, when he realized he could “have a greater breadth of impact developing a new therapeutic technique rather than treating patients directly.”

By contrast, Khalil Ramadi, Cima Lab postdoc, writes about how spending five weeks at Mt. Auburn Hospital transformed his perspective on clinical medicine and how biomedical engineering students and researchers can connect with patients’ needs.

Take a deep dive into science with two of our inaugural Convergence Scholars, Ritu Raman and Kaitlyn Sadtler, on their ICEBERG: Under the Surface of Science blog. And don't forget to check out Sadtler's newly posted TED Talk all about new biomaterials that could make us a little more like Wolverine from X-Men by helping our bodies heal quickly and without scarring. Snikt! more...

League of Xtraordinary Gentlewomen (and Bob)

Congratulations to our 2018 Xconomy Awards winners! Angela Belcher, James Mason Crafts Professor, won the Innovation at the Intersection Award for using the M13 bacteriophage to light up ovarian cancer cells in real time so that surgeons can find them. Nancy Hopkins, former KI member and Professor Emerita, won a Lifetime Achievement Award for her pioneering research on tumor-causing viruses and the genes controlling vertebrate development, as well as her pioneering use of a tape-measure as an elegant tool for fighting gender discrimination in science. The Human Cell Atlas, a project co-chaired by KI member Aviv Regev that aims to map out all human cell types and their interactions, was named Xconomy’s 2018 Big Idea.     The Xconomy winners received their awards as part of Biotech Week Boston, during which KI member and MIT President Emerita Susan Hockfield gave a keynote address on the convergence of biology and engineering in the 21st century, and Robert Langer, David H. Koch Institute Professor, gave a talk with his Lyndra co-founder and CEO Amy Schulman on high impact ideas and use-inspired research.     more...

Hungry for Research

Although it has been 100 years since scientists first discovered that cancer cells metabolize nutrients differently than most normal cells, cancer metabolism research has been a relatively neglected field of research—until recently. A new profile from MIT News tells how KI Associate Director and MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine member Matthew Vander Heiden helped bring new life to the field with his appetite for more insight into how cancer cells alter their metabolism. At the beginning of grad school, Vander Heiden thought he would go into medicine, but in studying Bcl-x, an apoptosis regulator found in the membranes of mitochondria, he realized “that we don’t understand cell metabolism anywhere near as well as we thought we did, and someone should really study this.”  more...

Check It Out

The Bhatia Lab is developing a nanosensor library of proteases associated with prostate cancer. In mouse models, their diagnostic tool outperformed the current clinical gold standard, suggesting a possible new approach for early intervention and screening. more...

Hepatocytes with contrasting stains of mitotic spindle and chromosomes

Culture Shock

Let's dish about chromosomes, shall we? Researchers in the Amon Lab have uncovered evidence that cells dividing in culture or in the absence of tissue architecture have significantly higher levels of chromosome mis-segregation (a condition known as aneuploidy) than those that divide within their native environments. Their findings, published in Cell and profiled by HHMI, suggest that the hallmark aneuploidy found in more than 90% of solid human tumors may be influenced by disrupted tissue architecture, independent of gene expression and mutations, and has important implications for the widespread practice of studying cells in a dish. Read more or see this work in the KI Public Galleries.

Lead author and 2014 KI Images Award winner Kristin Knouse just won a 2018 NIH Director's Early Independence Award. Congratulations!     more...

Set and Spike!

A new two-step approach to treating gliomas could help clinicians set the ball by quickly identifying mutations, then drive it home by delivering mutation-targeted treatment, all during the course of tumor removal surgery. In a study published in PNAS, a team of researchers including KI research affiliate Giovanni Traverso and David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer developed both a 30-minute test for IDH1/2 mutations, found in 20 to 25 percent of all gliomas, and microparticles that bypass the blood-brain barrier by implantation directly into the brain. The researchers are now developing tests for other common brain tumor mutations, and expect their approach to be applicable to tumors in other parts of the body.  more...