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

Cancer Metabolism Makes Its Mark

For the second year in a row, a KI alum has been named a winner of the Science & SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists! Jared Mayers — a former doctoral student in the Vander Heiden Lab and now a resident in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital — was selected for the prize based on the work described in his essay, "Metabolic markers as cancer clues." The essay recounts Mayers' investigations, which revealed strong evidence that activation and suppression of cancer-causing genes can have wildly different results in cell metabolism depending on the tumor’s tissue of origin. The team's findings suggest a shifting paradigm for personalized medicine, in which context plays as critical a role as the genetic drivers. In recognition of his illuminating research and essay, Mayers — similarly to 2016 Prize Winner and KI alum Canan Dagdeviren — will travel to Stockholm to receive his medal and attend the 2017 Nobel Prize Ceremony. Read Mayers' award-winning essay heremore...

Bhatia in the Spotlight

What an exciting few months it has been for KI member and Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine Director Sangeeta Bhatia! Perhaps most notably, her work combining nanotechnology and medicine to develop cancer diagnostics garnered Xconomy's prestigious "Innovation at the Intersection" award. She was also honored with a Catalyst Award from the Science Club for Girls to celebrate her trailblazing work in support of girls' engagement in STEM. For Women's Equality Day, Johnson & Johnson featured Bhatia, one of their five female biotech superstars who want to change the future of healthcare, for her work as co-founder of Glympse Bio. The startup is commercializing low-cost urinary diagnostics, developed in Bhatia's KI laboratory and previously supported by the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program. Her work as a multimodal inventor was also profiled by Ludwig Cancer Research. Finally, Bhatia herself penned a guest post for the National Academy of Sciences for National Nanotechnology Day. more...

One of 32 recipients nationwide for 2018, Mary Clare Beytagh is the second Jacks Lab UROP in three years to be given this prestigious academic distinction.

Following the Rhodes to Success

Congratulations to Jacks Lab UROP and newly-named Rhodes Scholar Mary Clare Beytagh! One of 32 recipients nationwide for 2018, Beytagh is the second Jacks Lab UROP in three years to be given this prestigious academic distinction. She was also recently featured by MIT News in a profile detailing her various successes and interests in the fields of medicine, science, ballet, and poetry. Beytagh hopes to one day complete a MD-PhD program in cancer biology and apply her passion for writing towards telling stories that humanize patients and focus on the social and economic determinants of health. Read more. more...

The Manalis Lab has taken an important step in demonstrating that they can accurately predict how tumors will respond to treatment, before treatment is given.

Manalis Mirrors Multiple Myeloma Response Rates

And the KI is nine for nine! Comparing measurements of cancer cell mass accumulation rates obtained using their signature cell-weighing technology to patient outcomes, the Manalis Lab has taken an important step in demonstrating that they can accurately predict how tumors will respond to treatment, before treatment is given. Building on previous work conducted under the auspices of the Bridge Project, researchers at the KI and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute tested a variety of drugs and combination therapies on tumor cells from nine multiple myeloma patients. In all of the pilot study's cases, measurements of cells' sensitivity and resistance in the lab matched patient response to actual treatment in the clinic. The team is now working to validate their approach in a larger clinical study and hopes to expand their investigations to include other cancer types as well. Read more. more...

The KI's Ritu Raman and Andrew Warren were chosen out of thousands of young visionaries to be honored by Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2018.

KI Overachievers Under 30

With impressive track records in biomedical engineering and unwavering commitment to improving human health, the KI's Ritu Raman and Andrew Warren were chosen out of thousands of young visionaries to be honored by Forbes 30 Under 30 in the categories of Science and Health, respectively. Raman, a postdoctoral fellow in the KI's Langer Lab who was also recently named a L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow, was selected for her research studying the dynamic interactions between biological and synthetic materials and developing bio-hybrid systems to tackle different applications. Warren is an alumnus of the KI's Bhatia Lab and now founding scientist and product development lead at Glympse Bio. He was selected for his work using modular nanoparticle sensors to create diagnostics for such diseases as cancer, clotting disorders, and liver fibrosis. Learn more about all of this year's Forbes 30 Under 30 recipients here. more...

KI researchers in the Anderson and Langer Labs have developed nanoparticles to safely and efficiently deliver CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing to cells.

CRISPR Goes Non-viral!

News worth following! KI researchers in the Anderson and Langer Labs have developed nanoparticles to safely and efficiently deliver CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing to cells, overcoming several of the challenges associated with more traditional methods that rely on benign viruses to transport their cargo. The team's nonviral delivery system includes an enhanced RNA guide molecule, whose chemical modifications were inspired by the structure of the original protein/RNA complex. Their approach successfully deleted disease-causing genes in adult mice, reducing their cholesterol levels and opening new possibilities for CRISPR-mediated treatments. Click here and share to help this work go non-viral! more...

Liquid biopsies hold expanded potential for increasing numbers of patients, thanks to improved techniques developed by researchers at the KI, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and MGH Cancer Center.

Special Biops: Cell-Free DNAgents in the Field

Liquid biopsies hold expanded potential for increasing numbers of patients, thanks to improved techniques developed by researchers at the KI, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and MGH Cancer Center. By analyzing fragments of DNA expelled by cancer cells into the bloodstream, the team, led by Love Lab alumnus Viktor Adalsteinsson, was able to detect and profile the mutations present in these tumors, presenting a viable alternative to traditional biopsy sequencing. Their non-invasive “cell-free” approach offers particular promise for understanding metastatic cancer progression and evolution of treatment response in advanced disease states. The team’s initial work was supported in part by a TRANSCEND grant through the KI's alliance with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. more...

New research from the Jacks Lab investigates whether PDAC cells are dependent on KRAS for their growth.

Kicking Cancer’s KRAS

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the third leading cause of cancer death in the US and despite some advances in treatment approaches, the long-term survival of patients remains extremely poor. Mutations in KRAS are a hallmark of this cancer type, occurring in >90% of cases, making this gene an attractive therapeutic target. New research from the laboratory of Tyler Jacks, a David H. Koch Professor of Biology and director of the Koch Institute, investigated whether PDAC cells are dependent on KRAS for their growth. Using CRISPR/ Cas9 to completely delete KRAS, the researchers determined that a subset of PDAC cells are still able to survive. However, the cells that do survive are sensitive to inhibitors of the PI3K pathway, suggesting that the simultaneous inhibition of KRAS and PI3K would be a viable combinatorial therapeutic strategy.  more...

Aren't they Wunder-ful?

Salil Garg (Sharp Lab), Jiang He (Bhatia Lab), and Michael Mitchell (Langer Lab) were all named 2017 STAT Wunderkinds for their work "blazing new trails as they attempt to answer some of the biggest questions in medicine." Langer Lab alumni Carl Schoellhammer, CEO of Suonobio, and Armon Sharei, CEO of SQZ Biotech, were both among Business Insider's 30 biotech leaders under 40 list.  Sharei also received the "Young Innovator" award at this year's Xconomy Awards! more...

Researchers in the laboratory of KI member Timothy Lu have been working to develop targeted immunotherapies to attack cancer cells.

Bait and Switch for Targeted Immunotherapy

Researchers in the laboratory of KI member Timothy Lu have been working to develop targeted immunotherapies to attack cancer cells. Through the use of customized DNA/RNA sequences, the team has designed a synthetic gene circuit that is activated by transcriptional signals expressed by tumor cells, triggering a combinatorial immune response. Their bioengineered "switch" requires two cancer-specific signals to be present before it turns on, making it more accurate than current therapies, and can also be customized to recognize and target different cancer types. more...