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

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In the News

Karches Mentorship Prize Now Open for Nominations

Mentors play an incredibly important role at the KI, which is excited to announce a new prize celebrating mentorship. The Peter Karches Mentorship Prize will be awarded annually to up to four trainees (either post-docs or graduate students) serving as mentors to high school and undergraduate students working in KI laboratories.

Candidates must be nominated in writing by their mentees or PIs. Nominations for trainees who mentored high school and undergraduate students working in KI laboratories during the 2017-18 academic year and/or summer 2018 must be submitted to ki-fellowships@mit.edu by 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 7, 2018. See prize details and nomination form here.

In addition to recognizing the contributions of trainee mentors at the KI, this new prize celebrates Peter Karches’s extraordinary legacy. Mr. Karches spent his career at Morgan Stanley, rising to become president and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley’s institutional securities and investment banking group. A passionate horse racing fan, he bred and raced thoroughbreds, and co-chaired the New York Racing Association. After a long battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Mr. Karches passed away in April 2006. In honor of Mr. Karches’s generosity, intellect, and steadfast commitment to family and friends, James Goodwin, a close friend of the Karches family, has established the Peter Karches Mentorship Prize at the KI. more...

Research for the Ages (Of Cells)

Most cell types can only undergo a limited number of cell divisions, a process also referred to as cellular aging. What causes old cells to stop dividing has been unclear. In work published by Genes & Development, researchers in the Amon Laboratory identified aging factors that accumulate in old budding yeast mother cells and described how they interfere with cell division. Spontaneous transmission of these aging factors to daughter cells results in rejuvenation of the mother cell but causes death of their daughter. Because the cell division errors that occur in old yeast and human cells are remarkably similar, this research could help illuminate the molecular processes that cause aging of human cells. more...

Summer Backpacking with the Irvine Lab

The Irvine Lab has summer backpacking down to a T (cell). New work, published in Nature Biotechnology, describes how this Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine team is using nanoparticle "backpacks" to improve efficacy and lower toxicity of adoptive T cell therapy against solid tumors. Their latest particles can carry 100-fold more drug than their predecessors and will release their cargo only when the immune cells carrying them reach the tumor and become activated. Senior author and principal investigator Darrell Irvine is a co-founder of startup company Torque, which is preparing to blaze a trail into the clinic later this year. more...

We Built This Laboratory on 'Doc and Roll

What's it like to begin your career in a brand new laboratory? Nature spoke with KI postdoctoral scholar Timothy Fessenden and his advisor, KI faculty member and cancer immunology rockstar Stefani Spranger, about building a lab from the ground up. The process, they say, is not immune to challenges but both PI and postdoc are ready to roll out new research and keep learning from each other along the way. Read more. more...

Slow Down, You Grow Too Fast

Researchers in the laboratory of KI associate director and MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine member Matthew Vander Heiden are looking at aspartate as a limiting nutrient for cancer cells and feeling groovy. Their latest paper, published in Nature Cell Biology and further covered in Nature News & Views, explains how and why this amino acid is important for cell proliferation and argues that targeting aspartate production may reduce the growth of some tumors. Read more. more...

Deep Thoughts on Drug Delivery

Chronically implanted microprobes developed in the KI's Cima and Langer Labs, in collaboration with the Graybiel Lab, show great promise for targeted drug delivery in the brain. more...

The Unstoppable Nancy Hopkins

KI member and MIT Professor Emerita Nancy Hopkins may be officially retired, but she is not slowing down. After co-authoing a review of the molecular mechanisms of the preventable causes of cancer in the United States for Genes & Development, she sat down with MIT News to share her perspective on the impact and potential of cancer prevention. On September 5, Hopkins will be honored with the 2018 Xconomy Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to genetics, cancer research, and gender equity in science. more...

Weight For It

The KI's Vander Heiden Lab, in collaboration with researchers and clinicians at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is exploring the connections between pancreatic cancer and weight loss. As seen in Nature, the team looked at tissue wasting mechanisms in mice with early stage tumors and found that loss of pancreatic digestive enzymes can contribute to early weight loss in pancreatic cancer. They also examined blood samples and clinical data from more than 700 pancreatic cancer patients, determining that tissue loss does not necessarily correlate with lower survival rates and suggesting that detecting such tissue loss could lead to earlier diagnosis. The work was supported in part by the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program through the Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund and the MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine. Get the breakdown from MIT News, Nature News & Views, and STAT. more...

Langer Named US Science Envoy

KI member Robert Langer has been named one of five U.S. Science Envoys for 2018. As a Science Envoy for Innovation, Langer, will work at both the citizen and government levels to build international relationships and promote collaboration. more...

A Little "Light" Cancer Detection

She may not consider herself a "real biologist" but KI member Angela Belcher is making real progress in the fight against ovarian cancer. NEO.LIFE explores how she is engineering viruses to bind to tumor cells and carbon nanotubes with the goal of improving surgical patients' prognosis. more...