In 1974, Nobel Laureate and MIT Professor, Salvador Luria, established the Center for Cancer Research, in order to properly study the genetic and molecular basis of cancer, the immune system’s ability to recognize antigens, and the cellular behavior during growth. In December 2010, Luria’s dream will reach heights, he could have never imagined, when the doors open to the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. An institute, which will stand as one of the SEVEN National Cancer Institute-designated basic research centers in the United States.
The Institute will house 11 core facilities in what is called the Swanson Biotechnology Center (or SBC), which will interact with a network of 90 biotechnology and bio pharmaceutical companies; along with Boston’s world class institutions, such as, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Within the walls of the Institute, two dozen biologist and engineers, will be working together to advance the cause of cancer research. In conjunction with the faculty, the Institute will have 120 postdoctoral associates, 50 research scientists, 70 technical assistants, and over 200 graduates and undergraduates striving for the same goal.
The Institute will focus on five target areas, which are necessary for the rapid progress in cancer research; developing nanotechnolgy based theraputics, creating novel devices for cancer detection and monitoring, exploring the molecular and cellular basis of metastasis, establishing the relationship between cancer pathways and drug resistance, and engineering the immune system to properly fight cancer.
Through these forms of research, the Koch Institute, has contributed to incredible discoveries within the field of cancer research. Discoveries, such as, isolating the first human cancer genes, identifying the molecules that led to two of the first FDA-approved molecularly targeted anti cancer drugs, and developed novel materials for sustained delivery of anti-cancer drugs.
Since the early 70′s MIT, has contributed enormous discoveries to the cancer research field, their faculty has earned the most prestigious accolades in the national and international science fields. Currently, five members of faculty were awarded the Nobel Prize, 15 faculty are members of the National Academy of Sciences, two faculty are memebers of the National Academy of Engineering, six members of faculty have been awarded the National Medal of Science, and nine faculty members are Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators.
Along with being the epicenter of cancer research, The Institute, also holds the annual Summer Symposium. Next year, the Summer Symposium, will take place on June 10th and 11th; featuring four separate sessions. Each session will allow the public to converse and engage in a Q&A (question and answer) on four different topics (i.e. Cancer Immunology and Translation, Cellular Mechanisms of Tumorigensis, Detecting and Modeling Cancer, From Systems to Targets). If you are interested in information surrounding the Summer Symposium, or general information on The Institute; go to, http://web.mit.edu/ki/