MIT was awarded an NCI Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP) grant in 2004, for the period September 2004 through February 2015. This grant catalyzed formation of a community of faculty, postdoctoral associates, graduate students, and undergraduate students having the common goal of developing and effectively applying systems biology approaches to fundamental problems in cancer biology and therapy. The MIT ICBP community comprises an interdisciplinary faculty from multiple departments in the MIT Schools of Science (mainly Biology and Chemistry) and Engineering (mainly Biological Engineering and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) as well as the HMS Department of Systems Biology. Students/postdocs are drawn from these departments along with the interdepartmental MIT Computational & Systems Biology graduate program. Most participating investigators are also members of the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (KI).
Objective 1 - Cancer Research: Advance the development and application of new systems biology approaches to cancer research in three significant scientific areas (mitogenesis, migration, and DNA damage/repair) and improve corresponding approaches for discovery and use of cancer therapies.
Objective 2 - Education: Train a new generation of young research leaders comfortable at the interdisciplinary interface between experimental molecular/cell biology and quantitative modeling in key areas of basic and applied cancer research.
Objective 3 - Collaboration and Outreach: Serve the general cancer biology community by acting as a collaborative partner that brings new ideas and methods to a wide community of investigators regardless of institutional affiliation.
The purpose of the NCI CCSB initiative is: "to stimulate the development and application of the integrative systems approaches and mathematical/computational modeling to cancer research... specifically in the areas of (a) cancer biology; (b) experimental therapeutics; (c) early interventions; and (d) cancer susceptibility." The efforts of our MIT ICBP/CCSB, now entitled the 'Tumor Cell Networks Center' (TCNC), focus primarily on Area (a) cancer biology, with intersection into Area (b) experimental therapeutics. The TCNC comprises three multi-investigator research projects and cores in Computational Modeling and in Education/Outreach:
Project 1 - Mitogenesis Networks
Project 2 - Migration Networks
Project 3 - DNA Damage Networks
Core 1 - Computational Modeling
Core 2 - Education & Outreach