Director, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
David H. Koch Professor of Biology
Daniel K. Ludwig Scholar
Co-director, Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
"The Jacks laboratory is interested in the genetic events contributing to the development of cancer. The focus of our research has been a series of mouse models engineered to carry mutations in genes known to be involved in human cancer."
Professor Jacks received his bachelor's degree in biology from Harvard College, and his doctorate from the University of California, San Francisco, where he trained with Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute before he joined the MIT faculty in 1992. In recognition of his contributions to the study of cancer genetics, Professor Jacks received the AACR Outstanding Achievement Award, the Amgen Award from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research, and the Sergio Lombroso Award in Cancer Research. He also served as Chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board at the National Cancer Institute, was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and was elected President of the AACR in 2009. Professor Jacks was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the inaugural class of Fellows of the AACR Academy. In 2015, he was the recipient of the Killian Award, the highest honor the MIT faculty can bestow upon one of its members. Professor Jacks serves on the Board of Directors of Thermo Fisher Scientific and Amgen. He is also a co-founder of T2 Biosystems and Dragonfly Therapeutics, and serves as an advisor to several other companies.
The Jacks laboratory studies the genetic events underlying the development of cancer. Professor Jacks has pioneered the use of gene targeting technology in the mouse to study cancer-associated genes and to construct mouse models of many human cancer types, including cancers of the lung, pancreas, colon, thyroid, and soft tissue. These powerful and sophisticated models closely recapitulate human disease, and have led to novel insights into tumor development, as well as new strategies for cancer detection and treatment. By combining these pre-clinical models with cutting-edge tools in genetics and genomics, the Jacks lab has been able to illuminate the pathways and processes critical for cancer progression.
More recently, the Jacks group has begun using these advanced models to investigate how immune and tumor cells interact during tumor development, and how tumor immune responses affect the development of cancer in mice. Among various aspects of cancer immunology under investigation are two main groups of cells, T cells and NK cells, which play an important role in lung cancer development. Modulating these pathways may prove a viable therapeutic strategy for improving outcomes for patients with lung adenocarcinoma. We have further engineered developing tumors in mouse models of cancer to express model T cell antigens, which serve as targets for tumor-specific T cells and stimulate anti-tumor immune responses. These models offer a unique platform for investigating how anti-tumor immune responses shape tumor gene expression, and importantly how tumor evasion mechanisms contribute to the development of advanced disease. Moreover, they are invaluable preclinical models for testing immunotherapeutics, as single agents, or in combinations with traditional or targeted therapies.
For more information about Professor Jacks's research, please visit the Jacks lab webpage.
Jin C, Lagoudas GK, Zhao C, Bullman S, Bhutkar A, Hu B, Ameh S, Sandel D, Liang XS, Mazzilli S, Whary MT, Meyerson M, Germain R, Blainey PC, Fox JG, Jacks T. 2019. Commensal Microbiota Promote Lung Cancer Development via γδ T Cells. Cell 176(5):998-1013.
Chen PY, Muzumdar MD, Dorans KJ, Robbins R, Bhutkar A, Del Rosario A, Mertins P, Qiao J, Schafer AC, Gertler F, Carr S, Jacks T. 2018. Adaptive and Reversible Resistance to Kras inhibition in Pancreatic Cancer Cells. Cancer Res 78(4):985-1002.
Tammela T, Sanchez-Rivera FJ, Cetinbas NM, Wu K, Joshi NS, Helenius K, Park Y, Azimi R, Kerper NR, Wesselhoeft RA, et al. 2017. A Wnt-producing niche drives proliferative potential and progression in lung adenocarcinoma. Nature 545: 355–359.
Joshi NS, Akama-Garren EH, Lu Y, Lee D-Y, Chang GP, Li A, DuPage M, Tammela T, Kerper NR, Farago AF, et al. 2015. Regulatory T Cells in tumor-associated tertiary lymphoid structures suppress anti-tumor T cell responses. Immunity 43: 579–590.
Sánchez-Rivera FJ, Papagiannakopoulos T, Romero R, Tammela T, Bauer MR, Bhutkar A, Joshi NS, Subbaraj L, Bronson RT, Xue W, et al. 2014. Rapid modelling of cooperating genetic events in cancer through somatic genome editing. Nature 516: 428–431.
Xue W, Chen S, Yin H, Tammela T, Papagiannakopoulos T, Joshi NS, Cai W, Yang G, Bronson R, Crowley DG, et al. 2014. CRISPR-mediated direct mutation of cancer genes in the mouse liver. Nature 514: 380–384.
McFadden DG, Papagiannakopoulos T, Taylor-Weiner A, Stewart C, Carter SL, Cibulskis K, Bhutkar A, McKenna A, Dooley A, Vernon A, et al. 2014. Genetic and clonal dissection of murine small cell lung carcinoma progression by genome sequencing. Cell 156: 1298–1311.
DuPage M, Mazumdar C, Schmidt LM, Cheung AF, Jacks T. 2012. Expression of tumour-specific antigens underlies cancer immunoediting. Nature 482: 405–409.
Winslow MM, Dayton TL, Verhaak RGW, Kim-Kiselak C, Snyder EL, Feldser DM, Hubbard DD, DuPage MJ, Whittaker CA, Hoersch S, et al. 2011. Suppression of lung adenocarcinoma progression by Nkx2-1. Nature 473: 101–104.
DuPage M, Cheung AF, Mazumdar C, Winslow MM, Bronson R, Schmidt LM, Crowley D, Chen J, Jacks T. 2011. Endogenous T cell responses to antigens expressed in lung adenocarcinomas delay malignant tumor progression. Cancer Cell 19: 72–85.