The Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine

About the Center. The Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine brings together leading faculty from the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research to focus on grand challenges in cancer detection, treatment, and monitoring that could benefit from the emerging biology and physics of the nanoscale. Marble Center members are collaborating on a wide variety of efforts, from detecting cancer earlier than existing methods allow, to harnessing the immune system to fight cancer even as it evolves, to exploiting therapeutic insights from cancer genomics in order to design therapies for previously undruggable targets, to combining existing drugs for synergistic action, to creating tools for better surgical intervention.

The Marble Center faculty is committed to fighting cancer with nanomedicine—through research, education, and collaboration. The Center’s Incubator Fund will help bridge the gulf between the lab and the patient, helping to support the significant clinical testing required to advance research from the bench to the marketplace. The Center’s competitive fellowship program is designed to attract the very best graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and prepare them for careers in nanomedicine. Convergence—the blending of life and physical sciences, and engineering—is a hallmark of MIT, the founding principle of the Koch Institute, and the heart of the Marble Center’s mission. By galvanizing the MIT cancer research communities, and the larger Boston clinical oncology community, the Marble Center will help to revolutionize cancer diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring.

About Curt and Kathy MarbleCurt '63 and Kathy Marble met when they were both working at Massachusetts General Hospital, in the early days of computer medical applications. In 1969, Curt and other MIT alumni started Meditech—a Massachusetts-based software company providing information systems to healthcare organizations. After the couple's marriage and the birth of their two children, Kathy became active in their local school system and the school building committee. She also became a passionate gardener and a student of Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging, while remaining an advocate for women in science and technology.

Longtime supporters of MIT, the Marbles attended the Cancer Research Short Course in June of 2006, at what was then the Center for Cancer Research. Impressed with the prodigious research program, they met shortly afterwards with director Tyler Jacks, who now also heads the CCR's successor, the Koch Institute, and made their first gift to support cancer research at MIT. They established a fund to provide crucial support for highly innovative, early-stage, and collaborative research, work that might otherwise not be funded by more traditional granting organizations. Over the years they have met regularly with faculty members and watched as their support has enabled new discoveries and breakthroughs in the fight against cancer. Building on the impact of the Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund, the Marbles endowed the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professorship in Cancer Research, currently held by Professor Angelika Amon.

When the need arose for a new center to focus the power and promise of cancer nanotechnology, Tyler turned to Curt and Kathy for help. The result is the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, debuted under the leadership of Professor Sangeeta Bhatia. Sadly, Kathy passed away in April 2016, just as the Center was getting underway.

The Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine stands as a cornerstone in the legacy that Kathy and Curt have built from within MIT's cancer research community. It is their hope and expectation that by galvanizing cancer researchers at MIT and across greater Boston, the center will be instrumental in advancing the use of nanomedicine in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.