Coming Together for Immuno-Oncology

Takeda's $1 million gift to the MIT Koch Institute will advance research into how the immune system affects cancer.

immune system
Coming together for immuno-oncology: (l-r) Dane Wittrup, Tyler Jacks, and Anne Deconinck of the Koch Institute; and Christopher Arendt, Jesus Gomez-Navarro, and Nicholas Ferenc of Takeda. Photo: MIT Koch Institute

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research recently announced that Takeda will support groundbreaking science in immuno-oncology at the Koch Institute (KI).

The $1 million gift will help, over the next two years, to both build upon research currently being conducted at the KI on the role of the immune response in cancer, and to develop potential novel treatments. The gift will also allow investigators to test their most innovative new ideas and collaborations, conducting early-stage seed projects that can have a major impact but are difficult to fund.

“The Koch Institute was created to promote the best in science and engineering to develop new approaches in the fight against cancer,” said Tyler Jacks, director of the Koch Institute. “Immuno-oncology is a major focus of our efforts, and we are grateful to Takeda for their support in this important area of research.”

Investigators at the Koch Institute are exploring the relationship between the immune system and cancer in animal models and human patients to improve immune responses to cancer.

The KI also works on developing new methods for analyzing cellular immune responses; tools for drug delivery, therapeutic strategies that engage both the innate and the adaptive immune response, including therapeutic and preventative vaccines; and therapeutic antibodies created using state-of-the-art protein engineering methods.

“Takeda embraces innovative science both inside and outside of our organization, and as part of our commitment to patients with cancer, we look to support academic institutions that are leading research in immuno-oncology,” said Christopher Arendt, head of immunology discovery at Takeda. “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. The Koch Institute’s dedication to the convergence of life sciences and engineering offers unique opportunities to advance this exciting field.”