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Lecture marks Koch Building naming cancer-research gift

Dr. Richard D. Klausner, director of the National Cancer Institute, will give a lecture at MIT on Friday, Oct.1 as part of events celebrating the naming of the biology building (Building 68) in honor of David H. Koch (SB 1962, SM).

Dr. Klausner's talk is titled "Cancer Research: The Future is Here" and will be held in Rm 10-250 at 3:30pm. The community is invited.

Mr. Koch, executive vice president and member of the board of Koch Industries, Inc., the nation's second-largest privately held firm, has made a $25 million pledge to support cancer research at MIT. He has committed $2.5 million per year for 10 years to support cancer research in the Department of Biology, which is home to the Center for Cancer Research (CCR). Four faculty members in the department have won the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology since 1968: Har Gobind Khorana, the late Salvador Luria, Susumu Tonegawa and Phillip Sharp.

"MIT has done wonderful things for me, and some of the success I've enjoyed in this world has been due to the fantastic education that I received here at the Institute," Mr. Koch told the Corporation, MIT's governing body, when the gift was announced earlier this year. "So, because I've gotten so much benefit from MIT, I felt that it was appropriate for me to return the favor and do something nice for the Institute."

MIT has made and continues to make major contributions to basic cancer research. Scientists from the CCR, which opened in 1974, have made major discoveries, including cloning of the first oncogene from a human tumor by Professor of Biology Robert Weinberg's group. Dr. Weinberg's group has continued to identify other oncogenes and also tumor suppressor genes, loss of which predisposes to cancer.

With the development of new techniques for mapping and identifying human disease genes, an area in which the MIT/Whitehead Center for Genome Research plays a leading role, important new genes are continually being uncovered. Professor of Biology David E. Housman of the CCR has been a pioneer in this approach and has isolated several disease genes, including those for Huntington's disease, myotonic dystrophy and Wilm's tumor, and his laboratory continues to work on the search to identify other cancer genes.

The October 1 lecture will be followed by a naming celebration and reception at 4:45pm at the David H. Koch Biology Building. These and other events this year commemorate the 25th anniversary of the CCR.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 29, 1999.

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