Takeda Pharmaceutical has given a two-year, $1 million gift to the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT toward immuno-oncology research, the Institute and the pharma firm said today.

The gift will support research intended to build on Institute studies focused on investigating the role of the immune response in cancer and developing potential novel treatments, Takeda and the Koch Institute said.

According to the Institute, its investigators are exploring the relationship between the immune system and cancer in animal models and human patients to improve immune responses to cancer. The Koch Institute also focuses on developing drug delivery tools, new methods for analyzing cellular immune responses and therapies based on engaging both the innate and the adaptive immune response, including therapeutic and preventative vaccines, as well as therapeutic antibodies through state-of-the art protein engineering methods.

The Institute has identified five areas of research that it considers critical for rapid progress toward controlling cancer:

  • Developing nanotechnology-based cancer therapeutics
  • Creating novel devices for cancer detection and monitoring
  • Exploring the molecular and cellular basis of metastasis
  • Advancing personalized medicine through analysis of cancer pathways and drug resistance
  • Engineering the immune system to fight cancer


A National Cancer Institute-designated Basic Cancer Research Center, the Koch Institute is the hub of cancer research on the MIT campus, bringing together biologists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists, clinicians, and others.

“The Koch Institute’s dedication to the convergence of life sciences and engineering offers unique opportunities to advance this exciting field,” Christopher Arendt, Ph.D., Immunology Discovery Lead at Takeda, said in a statement. “We are encouraged by the groundbreaking work underway at the Koch Institute in immuno-oncology, which has been a priority area of focus for Takeda and arguably one of the most significant breakthroughs in cancer research over the last few years.”

Oncology is one of Takeda’s therapeutic areas of focus, along with gastroenterology, disorders of the central nervous system, specialty cardiovascular diseases, and late-stage candidates for vaccines.

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