The funds will support the Bridge Project, a collaborative research program of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Launched in 2011, the project funds cross-institutional and interdisciplinary teams of cancer scientists, engineers, and clinicians working to solve longstanding problems in the most intractable cancers. To date, the project has funded fifteen teams that are pursuing clinical advances in the treatment of brain, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and advanced prostate cancer.
The Commonwealth Foundation funding will double the number of grants awarded by the project each year and will create two new funding mechanisms aimed at catalyzing the translation of basic research to clinical trials — one to enable new teams to form and establish proofs of concept, and a second to provide follow-on funding to teams that are on the cusp of making significant advances toward clinical implementation.
"Over the last four years, we have witnessed some truly innovative advances," said Bill Goodwin, chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, which awarded the project an initial grant of $4.5 million in 2012. "We share the Bridge Project’s goal to move important discoveries out of the lab and into the clinic — and hope other families and foundations will be inspired to join this effort."