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

Let the Madness Begin!

The KI’s Irvine and Wittrup Labs’ work in immunotherapy is a slam-dunk contender for STAT Madness! Selected to represent MIT in STAT's NCAA-style bracket among 32 leading research organizations, this powerful new combination immunotherapy acts at each key juncture of the immune cycle to promote a sustained response and activates both arms of the immune system. The vaccine’s targeting is modular and can be adapted to various cancer types. The project represents the best of what we do at the KI and MIT: combining deep scientific understanding with novel engineering approaches to improve access to life-changing technologies. Third round voting ends at the end of the day on Thursday, March 23 so vote now to advance KI research to the next round by filling out your bracket here. more...

Tethered 'til the End

Langer Lab researchers are coating cancer cells with nanoparticles to make the cells more vulnerable to various drug treatments and, ultimately, cell death. When hundreds of nanoparticles are tethered to a cancer cell, they bat and tug at the tumor cell surface as blood flows by, and compress the veil of molecules around it. This one-two punch of physical forces followed by drug delivery makes the cell more susceptible to the cell death signal from the drug. You might even say it puts the cell at the "end of its rope" for resisting treatment. Read more. more...

Speaking Out for STEMinism

For Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, many KI faculty members served as luminaries and advocates for women in STEM. Paula Hammond was highlighted as one of the “Storied Women of MIT" for the Institute’s Women History Month video series. Sangeeta Bhatia, Director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine at the KI, sat down for two Q&A style interviews with our friends at JLABS and Ludwig Cancer Research to discuss medical innovation, entrepreneurship, and the important role of women in STEM. Bhatia also contributed a video to ONE’s #GirlsCount campaign where she encouraged empowerment through nanotechnology, and reiterated MIT's commitment to closing the gender gap in STEM education. more...

The KI Welcomes Stefani Spranger

The Koch Institute is proud to welcome Stefani Spranger as our newest intramural facuity member. Her laboratory, located within the KI, will explore how a range of tumor cell-intrinsic, tissue-specific, and environmental factors directly impact the interaction between cancer and the immune system. More specifically, Spranger's research will focus on developing new and effective treatment strategies that activate the immune system to fight cancer. Spranger's deep knowledge in the field of immunotherapy will be a tremendous asset to the KI's immuno-oncology program, and to the MIT Department of Biology, where she will be an assistant professor. Welcome! more...

Welcome to Langermania

KI member Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor, has been doing laps around the press circuit, but don't plan on him slowing down anytime soon. Most recently, Langer was featured as "The Edison of Medicine" in Harvard Business Review via an in-depth profile detailing his illustrious accomplishments as an academic and entrepreneur. The article includes business advice from Langer himself — as well as success stories about research by Langer Lab postdocs Oliver "Ollie" Jonas and Mark Tibbitt*. The projects described, respectively supported in part by the Koch Institute's Frontier Research Program and S. Leslie Misrock Frontier Research Fund for Cancer Nanotechnology, highlight the culture of the lab itself and the important role that mentorship plays in transforming ideas into impact. Langer also headlined an article in WIRED showcasing his contributions to smarter drug delivery, namely his work with polymers to create long-lasting pills and drugs. Finally, Langer got personal with the science-based human interest blog Humans of Science as he talked about his career, inspirations, and motivations. (Phew!) *click on "Life in Langer Lab" to expand this web-only feature. more...

What's Your Damage?

Are all chemotherapies created equal? Researchers in the laboratories of KI members Michael Hemann and Stephen Lippard analyzed the mechanisms of action of three common platinum-based chemotherapeutics and discovered that drugs that were thought to act similarly actually kill cells in very different ways. Their results, published in Nature Medicine, suggest that our current arsenal of anti-cancer agents are not generic killers, but rather can be targeted towards specific cancer alterations to achieve optimal results. This work was supported in part by the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program through the Michael (1957) and Inara Erdei Fund and Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund, and a Misrock Postdoctoral Fellowship. more...

Susan Hockfield: A Force for Science

Susan Hockfield, MIT President Emerita and KI member, has begun her year-long role as the new President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Hockfield is a strong advocate for convergence and recently co-authored an article on this topic for Science with KI member and MIT Institute Professor Phillip Sharp. While president of MIT, Hockfield was a driving force in transforming the former MIT Center for Cancer Research into the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research—helping the KI become the gold standard for convergence by adding engineers to our faculty. In this article from AAAS, readers get an inside look into Hockfield's history, what inspired her to be the force in science that she is today, and how she plans to use her year-long position to advocate for the use of science and research in addressing the challenges facing the country and world. more...

Challenge Accepted

Grand Challenge Accepted

A team of MIT professors, led by the KI’s Christopher Love, has joined forces with professors from Kansas University and University College London to develop new ways to produce low-cost vaccines for global distribution through their innovative ULTRA platform. Through a Grand Challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the team aims to create the ULTRA manufacturing platform to produce certain vaccines for less than 15 cents a dose. more...

Out of the Tower, Into the Square

Although the Koch Institute rises high above Main Street and is home to many of MIT's great academic minds, we are far from being an ivory tower. On the MIT Alumni Association's "Slice of MIT" blog, Shelby Doyle, a graduate student in the Koehler Lab, describes the opportunities available to aspiring cancer researchers by virtue of the KI's proximity to other local research institutes, as well as top companies and hospitals. In her piece, Shelby reflects on the KI's collaborative, interdisciplinary nature and describes our neighborhood as a bustling market square — full of innovation and promise — that brings her research to the next level. more...

Not Throwing Away Their Shot

Two Anderson Lab postdocs are not throwing away their shot... to transform vaccines. Jasdave Chahal (previously in the Ploegh Lab at the Whitehead Institute) and Omar Khan have been building a rapid vaccine development platform. They aim to tackle some of today's leading global health issues—such as Zika, Ebola, and influenza. With support from the Advanced Medical Research Foundation in collaboration with KI director Tyler Jacks’ laboratory, as well as a Bridge Project grant with Stephanie Dougan at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the duo is also working on prophylactic vaccines for lung and pancreatic cancer, respectively. Chahal and Khan, together with their professors—experienced entrepreneurs Robert Langer, Hidde Ploegh, and Daniel Anderson—are also using the technology as a launchpad for their new company, Tiba Biotech. Learn more about this exciting venture and the team’s innovative spirit in MIT's Spectrum. more...