This past week, the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT received funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to become a Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB). These centers are part of NCI’s Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP), which is the NCI’s primary effort in cancer systems biology, a field that is rapidly seen as an essential component in the future of cancer research.
“These centers represent a unique multidisciplinary union of outstanding scientists and clinicians who will work to unravel the complexities of cancer through the novel application of technology and mathematical modeling. Their discoveries and models will be critical to our continued success in understanding and treating this disease,” said Dan Gallahan, program director for the Integrative Cancer Biology Program.
Douglas Lauffenburger, member of the Koch Institute and head of the Department of Biological Engineering, will be the principal investigator for the new center.
In addition to the funding received by MIT, 10 other outstanding centers nationwide will share NCI’s commitment to this area of research. Selection of MIT as part of NCI’s Integrative Cancer Biology Program underscores and reflects the Institute’s leadership within the community. These new centers and the research that evolves from them should enable scientists to gain a better understanding, and therefore better treatment and prevention, for the disease.
“This program is part of the next generation of cancer research, in that it will approach the disease from a holistic or comprehensive viewpoint in order to understand how all of the components of the disease fit together,” said John E. Niederhuber, M.D., NCI Director.
This approach to cancer research is made possible by advances in technology and computational modeling. These centers will not only explore new insights in the areas of cancer systems biology, but will generate computational and mathematical models for application in the lab and the clinic. The centers will work closely with all aspects of the research community and rely heavily on data and insight from other prominent NCI efforts.