Scheduled to open in 2010, the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research will build on research conducted by the center in an effort to advance MIT's longstanding commitment to unraveling the molecular core of the disease. Unique to the institute will be the concept of partnering MIT's molecular geneticists and cell biologists with engineers. To that end, the institute will house the laboratories of approximately twenty-five faculty members, including a blend of faculty from the School of Science and the School of Engineering.
Building on advances in traditional areas of cancer exploration such as molecular genetics and cellular biology, the institute will focus on five research areas at the intersection of biology and engineering: defining the specific vulnerability of cancer cells by creating a complete "wiring diagram" of the key pathways that allow cancer cells to keep dividing; engineering entirely new nontechnically paradigms for cancer treatment; understanding how tumors evade immune recognition and developing methods to overcome these avoidance mechanisms; using new tools to dissect the molecular and cellular basis for metastasis; and shifting the curve of cancer diagnosis and prevention to earlier stages using advances such as gnomic, novel imaging agents, and micro-scale monitoring devices.
"By housing leading cancer biologists with world-class engineers, we are creating a formidable team motivated to understand cancer and to do something about it," said Tyler Jacks, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology at MIT, who will serve as the institute's first director. "Our organization will build an expanding and highly effective relationship network that also involves other academic oncology centers, industrial partners, and cancer-focused foundations. Together we will dramatically expand our research and training efforts and seek to deliver powerful clinical solutions."