The Broad's Cancer Program is a scientific community focused on understanding the basic molecular mechanisms of cancer and applying this knowledge to transform the practice of cancer medicine. The work includes the systematic and comprehensive elucidation of the molecular landscape of a wide range of cancers as well as equally systematic genome-wide approaches to interrogating the function of cancer genes and the vulnerabilities of tumors.

The Cancer Program brings together an interdisciplinary team from over 30 laboratories across Boston and Cambridge that includes experimental, chemical, and computational biologists, trainees and professional staff, clinicians, laboratory scientists, and engineers. This team shares data and ideas freely and launches collaborative projects to tackle key challenges in cancer biology and cancer therapeutics.


Cancer Program Resource Gateway

The Broad Cancer Program produces a large number of data sets and tools that are available for use by the scientific community. These resources are centrally located at the Broad Cancer Program Resource Gateway.

Area of focus: Cancer genome

Cancer is a complex disease of genomic alterations, exploiting many different molecular mechanisms. Fighting cancer requires a comprehensive catalog of functionally disrupted genes across all cancer types. Working closely with national and international partnerships, along with philanthropic partners, we are utilizing a range of technologies to characterize the genomes, exomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, and methylomes of a wide range of cancer types. 

Area of focus: Systematic approaches to mapping cancer gene function

Across many cancers and within the majority of individual tumors, a large number of genes are disrupted. Prioritizing these genes on the basis of their function, and classifying them into cellular pathways and processes, is essential to interpreting cancer genomics and guiding future therapeutic approaches. 

Area of focus: Cancer vulnerabilities/Achilles' heels

Cancer cells rely on the expression of a limited number of specific genes for their survival, and these vulnerabilities are programmed by the underlying molecular features of tumors. Identifying these genetics-vulnerabilities relationships will yield a comprehensive catalog of the potential therapeutic targets for cancer and provide rationale for patient stratification.

Area of focus: Drug resistance

Recent clinical successes in cancer genome-inspired personalized medicine have led to exciting responses, but only a subset of these responses are long-lasting. Tumors are adept at becoming resistant to therapies and elucidating the molecular mechanisms of cancer drug resistance is critical to pinpointing strategies to prevent these escape routes.

Area of focus: Cancer therapeutics

Despite the incredible progress in mapping cancer genomes and annotating cancer gene function, a number of challenges (in technology, biology, chemistry, and financial incentive structure) currently impede the rapid translation of genome science into genome-inspired medicine. Industry tends to focus on well-trodden paths with more certain financial outcomes. 

Area of focus: Other efforts

A large range of other efforts are underway, including utilizing genomic signatures to recognize the effects of chemical compounds; studying cancer stem cells and cancer differentiation; developing microtechnology and engineering approaches to study novel aspects of cancer biology; utilizing mouse, dog, zebrafish...