Cancer Research Stories

What do cancer researchers do?  These five interactive screens provide an opportunity to step into the world of a cancer researcher and learn about the challenges they take on, the tools they use, and the solutions they develop.

This exhibition samples the work of the Koch institute through a series of interactive animations and artifacts.  Each of the five exhibits aligns with one of the Koch Institute's research focus areas:

Nano-Based Drugs

 

Most cancer treatments are blunt and toxic instruments, indiscriminately destroying both healthy and cancerous cells. We work at the molecular level to find and destroy cancer cells selectively. Our goal is to perfect a new generation of cancer therapies that eliminate cancer cells and leave healthy cells alone.

Current Research Story:
Making Tumors Vulnerable
Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies

Detection and Monitoring

 

To arrest cancer before it kills, we need to find it early and track its progress. The molecular differences that make cancerous cells lethal when left unchecked also provide the necessary clues to detect and identify them. We are developing highly sensitive cancer detectors to enable continuous monitoring of cancer patients.

Current Research Story:
Sensing Cancer
Cima Laboratory

Metastasis

 

Primary tumors are seldom lethal – most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis. Cancer cells mutate and spread to far-flung regions of the body where they are difficult to investigate and eradicate.  We are identifying the genes that encourage metastatic spread and allow cancer cells to survive and thrive in disparate locations. Armed with this knowledge, we aim to combat metastasis before it begins and destroy cancer cells wherever they may hide.

Current Research Story:
How Does Cancer Learn to Spread?
Jacks Laboratory

Cancer Immunology

 

When looking for a strong ally in the fight against cancer, perhaps none is better suited than our own immune system. Every day it is on the hunt for foreign invaders, and it appears singly effective at eliminating many nascent cancers before they even develop. Our goal is to create novel immunotherapies that augment and surpass the natural immune response…for the cancers that get away.

Current Research Story:
Engineering the Immune System
Irvine Laboratory

Personalized Medicine

 

What makes cancer cells different, and dangerous? Among the myriad genetic alterations observed in tumors, only some propel cancer cells to proliferate abnormally, survive inappropriately and resist the drugs administered to destroy them.  To know which alterations represent important therapeutic targets, we need to understand their place in the vast molecular network that underpins cellular function.

Current Research Story:
Cutting off Cancer's Food Supply
Vander Heiden Laboratory

The five research stories currently on display in the Galleries are also available as web videos:
 

MIT Tech TV
Making Tumors Vulnerable

Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies

 

MIT Tech TV
Sensing Cancer

Cima Laboratory

 


How Does Cancer Learn to Spread?

Jacks Laboratory

 

MIT Tech TV
Engineering the Immune System

Irvine Laboratory

 

MIT Tech TV
Cutting Off Cancer's Food Supply

Vander Heiden Laboratory

Collection: Main Galleries