Ludwig In the News

June 4, 2022

Researchers co-led by Ludwig Johns Hopkins scientists, their colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and Ludwig alumni at WEHI, in Melbourne, Australia reported at the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting that circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) — genetic material shed from tumors into the bloodstream — can identify stage II colon cancer patients who can most benefit from chemotherapy following surgery and spare other patients the need for this form of treatment.

March 20, 2022

This profile of Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler, co-directors of Ludwig Johns Hopkins, tells the story of their long partnership and outsize contributions to cancer genomics and its application to cutting edge diagnostics and therapies.

September 16, 2021

A study led by Ludwig Harvard’s Stephen Elledge employed CRISPR to probe the effects of mutations to thousands of genes in cancer. The study, published in Sciencediscovered in mouse models that mutations to more than 100 tumor suppressor genes prevent the immune system from detecting and destroying cancer cells.

September 16, 2021

A study led by Ludwig MIT’s Tyler Jacks, published in Cell, showed that vaccinating against a subset of cancer antigens generated by random mutations, or neoantigens, can boost the killing of cancer cells by reawakening dormant T cells that target those neoantigens in mice bearing lung tumors.

April 29, 2021

Ludwig Scientific Director Chi Van Dang and co-authors note in this essay that the Cancer Moonshot program, launched under the leadership of then Vice President Biden, has made significant progress, though major challenges remain.

December 24, 2020

Researchers led by Ludwig San Diego Member Don Cleveland and Peter Campbell of the Sanger Center explain how free-floating circular DNA fragments, which are almost exclusively found in cancer cells, drive gene amplification to generate drug resistance in cancer

November 28, 2020

This profile focuses on the life and career of Angelika Amon, an inspired cell biologist and investigator at the Ludwig Center at MIT, who died October 29, 2020 from ovarian cancer at age 53.

October 27, 2020

Exact Sciences Corp acquired Thrive Earlier Detection, established by Ludwig Johns Hopkins researchers and their colleagues to develop the CancerSEEK screening test, and Base Genomics, an epigenetics company launched by Ludwig Oxford’s Chunxiao Song working to set a new standard in DNA methylation analysis for diagnostics.

August 18, 2020

In a Nature Genetics study, Ludwig San Diego’s Paul Mischel and colleagues report that the multiplication of cancer genes located on DNA that is not associated with chromosomes drives poor patient outcomes across many cancer types. They found that ecDNA is a common feature of human cancer, occurring at minimum in 14% of human tumors, with far higher frequencies in the most malignant forms of cancer.


July 30, 2020

Ludwig Johns Hopkins’ Bert Vogelstein was a guest on the FYI Podcast, where he discussed the importance of primary and secondary cancer prevention techniques, the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to cancer treatment and the process of developing the CancerSEEK test, a tool for early cancer detection.

July 28, 2020

A Ludwig Cancer Research study has identified a new instance in which the simultaneous mutation of two nonessential genes—neither of which is on its own vital to cell survival—can cause cancer cell death. Led by Ludwig San Diego Member Richard Kolodner and published in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study also demonstrates that this deadly synergy, or “synthetic lethality,” can be replicated in mice by a drug-like molecule and could be exploited for cancer therapy.

June 3, 2020

Technology developed in the lab of Ludwig Oxford’s Chunxiao Song that greatly improves the sensitivity, efficiency and ease of sequencing DNA methylation is the basis for the launch of Base Genomics, a new biotechnology company.

May 8, 2020

In this episode, Ludwig San Diego’s Bing Ren discusses his work on identifying functional elements in the genome and higher order genome structure, the path he took in his scientific career, his role in the ENCODE Project and Roadmap Epigenome Consortium, and the discovery of topologically associating domains (TADs).

April 28, 2020

Clinical study data showed that DETECT-A, Thrive Earlier Detection’s blood test for multiple cancers developed by Ludwig Johns Hopkins researchers, detected ten different cancer types and more than doubled the number of cases detected when combined with traditional screening methods. It also detected several cancers for which there are no standard screening methods.

April 21, 2020

This article, which covers work done in the laboratory of Ludwig Harvard investigator Brad Bernstein, discusses scientists’ growing recognition of the high complexity of many types of tumors.

November 20, 2019

A Nature study led by Ludwig San Diego’s Paul Mischel and Bing Ren together with Ludwig Stanford’s Howard Chang suggests extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) may give cancer cells their malignant qualities.

October 3, 2019

Ludwig John Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein sees a future in which everyone has access to an early cancer diagnosis. In this article, he discusses how the company he co-founded, Thrive Earlier Detection, might help achieve that goal.

September 19, 2019

Ludwig San Diego’s Paul Mischel and his team unraveled how ecDNA drives the evolution and heterogeneity of tumors and contributes to their drug resistance. Using Mischel’s research as a background, Boundless Bio, a biotech startup, aims to kill drug-resistant tumors by finding ways to attack ecDNA in specific cancers.

August 20, 2019

Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein and Ludwig Stanford Director Irv Weissman have won the 2019 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. Weissman is renowned for being the first to isolate and characterize a human tissue stem cell—the hematopoeitic stem cell. Vogelstein is known for modeling the progressive mutational events underlying colorectal cancer and for being part of the team that first sequenced a cancer exome.

July 17, 2019

In a Science Translational Medicine study, researchers led in part by Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein describe how a laboratory test using artificial intelligence tools has the potential to more accurately sort out which people with pancreatic cysts will go on to develop pancreatic cancers.

June 18, 2019

Ludwig Johns Hopkins’ Bert Vogelstein and his colleagues have developed several technologies in the past few years that have become the foundations for well-funded spinoff cancer diagnostics companies. For example, CancerSEEK—liquid biopsy tech designed to screen for and detect at least eight different types of cancer at earlier stages—was recently spun out into a startup called Thrive Earlier Detection Corp. (Subscription required)

April 16, 2019

In this interview, Ludwig Stanford investigator Maximilian Diehn discusses the new urine test method he and his team developed to detect bladder cancer, the benefit of urine-based tests compared with other bladder cancer detection methods, and the likelihood that this approach could become widely adopted.

April 3, 2019

In a panel at the AACR Annual Meeting, Ludwig Johns Hopkins’ Nickolas Papadopoulos discussed the potential for liquid biopsies to help detect cancer earlier, but noted that much more research is needed. He also said that with detection, “it’s a difference of thinking proactively rather than reactively” in our response to cancer.

February 28, 2019

Researchers at the Ludwig Center at Harvard have used single-cell technologies and machine learning to create a detailed “atlas of cell states” for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) that could help improve treatment of the aggressive cancer. (Subscription required)

February 26, 2019

Bisulfite sequencing has long been the gold standard for analyzing methylation, despite its shortcomings. Now, Ludwig Oxford scientists have developed a new and improved method, called TET-assisted pyridine borane sequencing, or TAPS, to detect chemical modifications to DNA. (Subscription required)

October 31, 2018

Researchers led by Ludwig Stanford’s Howard Chang and Stanford geneticist William Greenleaf mapped DNA sequences that regulate the expression of specific genes in malignancies.

October 18, 2018

Ludwig MIT’s Angelika Amon is one of five scientists to receive a 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, given for transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life. Amon was honored for her work on determining the consequences of aneuploidy, an abnormal chromosome number that results from mis-segregation of chromosomes during cell division.

September 20, 2018

Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein shares a video analysis of the results, published in Science, of a study on whether mutations that drive malignant growth are the same or vary between primary tumors and their metastases.

July 16, 2018

A magnetic wire used to snag scarce and hard-to-capture tumor cells could prove to be a swift and effective tactic for early cancer detection, according to a Nature Biomedical Engineering study led by Ludwig Stanford’s Sam Gambhir. In pigs, the technique attracts 10-80 times more tumor cells than current blood-based cancer-detection methods.

May 31, 2018

A Ludwig Cancer Research study, published in the journal Cell, has uncovered an entirely novel mechanism by which cells enter a state of dormancy as tissues starved of oxygen become increasingly acidic. The study, led by Chi Van Dang, scientific director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, has potentially significant implications for cancer therapy

May 14, 2018

According to the Wikimedia Foundation, the most-referenced paper across English Wikipedia is a 2002 collection of more than 15,000 sequences of human and mouse genes by Robert Strausberg, now deputy scientific director at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

May 4, 2018

Ralph Weichselbaum, who is today director of the Ludwig Center at Chicago, and Ludwig Board member Samuel Hellman suggested somewhat controversially in 1995 that metastatic cancer could occupy an intermediate state between curable, localized tumors and lethal, systemic disease. Twenty-three years later, Weichselbaum, Hellman and colleagues have confirmed their “oligometastasis” hypothesis with a molecular analysis of tumors from patients treated for colorectal cancer.

April 22, 2018

As Ludwig MIT’s director Bob Weinberg once said: “If you live long enough, you will get cancer.” But why is cancer the beast that stalks us all? What is it about this disease that makes it inevitable? And why is it the price we must pay for many incredible evolutionary advances? To understand this issue, we need to go way back in our evolutionary history.

March 21, 2018

A Ludwig Johns Hopkins study published in Science Translational Medicine reports the analysis of an experimental, minimally invasive DNA test for the detection of ovarian and endometrial cancers, both of which are difficult to detect in their early stages, when they are most curable.

January 19, 2018

In a Science study, Ludwig Johns Hopkins researchers show that their experimental liquid biopsy test found about 70 percent of eight common types of cancer in patients already known to have the disease.

January 1, 2018

Ludwig’s Scientific Director Chi Van Dang, the new Editor-in-Chief of Cancer Research, discusses the evolution of cancer research, advances in areas like the tumor microenvironment, and challenges raised by the complexity of cancer.

December 10, 2017

Ludwig’s Scientific Director Chi Van Dang expressed excitement about promising areas in the Lancet Oncology Commission report, which expands on recommendations of the Cancer Moonshot’s blue ribbon panel.

October 17, 2017

Richard Hynes of Ludwig MIT recently received the National Academy of Medicine’s David Rall Medal for his exceptional leadership as Chairman of the NAM/NAS Committee on Human Gene Editing. In this interview, he talks about his work and shares his perspective on how we can better engage with the public on important issues in science and medicine.

September 29, 2017

Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein’s latest research unearthed a possible new method for detecting pancreatic cancer earlier using a liquid biopsy. This op-ed in Bloomberg gives an overview of Vogelstein’s research and other recent advances in early detection and prevention of cancer.

September 1, 2017

Ludwig Oxford’s Skirmantas Kriaucionis writes about the ways DNA base modifications add to the toolkit of critical gene-regulatory mechanisms. He outlines how researchers are just starting to explore how newly recognized epigenetic changes function in the genome.

April 3, 2017

Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein illustrated the theme of the 2017 ACCR Annual Meeting—”Discover, Predict, Prevent, Treat”—at this year’s opening plenary. He explained that the development of new therapies goes hand in hand with the development of new prevention strategies. One key step is identifying the source of mutations for each type of cancer by improved molecular markers of disease using diagnostics such as liquid biopsies.

March 23, 2017

A recent study led in part by Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-director Bert Vogelstein argues that random “mistakes” dividing cells make when copying their DNA account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer. This article, which includes input from Vogelstein, explains the methodology of the study and the implications of its findings.

February 10, 2017

The San Diego Union-Tribune covers Paul Mischel’s latest research in this article, which includes a video of Mischel’s lab. In the video, Mischel describes how his team recently found that oncogenes “jump off” chromosomes onto extrachromosomal circles of DNA, driving tumor evolution and drug resistance. If we better understood the mechanisms behind this activity, Mischel says, we might be able to develop more effective cancer treatments.

February 8, 2017

In this podcast, Paul Mischel fields questions about the recent study he led that upends old assumptions about cancer genes. Mischel’s findings will shift how cancer diversity and resistance are understood and studied.

February 8, 2017

A recent study led by Ludwig San Diego’s Paul Mischel is likely to change the way tumor evolution is understood by scientists and could ultimately lead to new ways to prevent and treat many malignancies. The Scientist reports on the findings and includes perspectives from several scientists not involved in the study.

December 5, 2016

Roeland Nusse of Ludwig Stanford and Stephen Elledge of Ludwig Harvard on winning the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Nusse was noted for his discovery of the first Wnt gene and elucidation of its role in embryonic development, stem cells and the genesis of tumors. Elledge was honored for his influential discoveries on how cells sense DNA damage and then engage their mechanisms of DNA repair—and how these processes relate to the development of cancer.

September 7, 2016

A blue ribbon panel, co-chaired by Tyler Jacks of Ludwig MIT and including Ludwig scientists George Demetri and Levi Garraway, released a report for the Cancer Moonshot that describes a set of 10 recommendations for accelerating cancer research to achieve the ambitious goal of making a decade’s worth of progress in 5 years.

August 17, 2016

Ludwig MIT scientist Tyler Jacks discusses recent advancements, market potential and ethnical questions related to CRISPR, a revolutionary gene-editing technology that has changed the cancer research landscape. Jacks and his lab have pioneered the use of CRISPR to construct in vivo models of human cancers.

July 11, 2016

Ludwig scientists speak about a blood-based screening test they’re developing to measure the a patient’s risk of colon cancer recurrence after surgery and determine whether subsequent chemotherapy is advisable. “This study shows that when we find tumor DNA circulating in the blood of cancer patients, recurrence is very likely,” says Nickolas Papadopoulos of Ludwig Johns Hopkins.

July 11, 2016

Ludwig scientists have shown that fragments of tumor DNA circulating in the blood can be used to better gauge the risk of colorectal cancer recurrence and the necessity of chemotherapy following surgery. Cancer Research UK reports that these findings could one day help doctors to better monitor and tailor treatments for their patients.

June 7, 2016

Ludwig Melbourne scientist Jeanne Tie spoke to GenomeWeb about data she recently presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting. Tie and her colleagues studied the efficacy of using ctDNA as a marker to identify colon cancer patients who are at high risk of recurrence following tumor removal.

June 1, 2016

Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-Directors Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler share how they foster a sense of community among their team members. Costumes encouraged!

May 6, 2016

Ludwig MIT’s Tyler Jacks shares his expertise about cancer genome complexity in a podcast about cancer, “ninja of the disease world.”

May 2, 2016

Ludwig Johns Hopkins Co-Directors Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler sit down with JCI for their ‘Conversations with Giants in Medicine’ series to discuss their backgrounds, what inspired them to be cancer researchers and their goals as scientists.

April 20, 2016

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden delivered an address at the AACR Annual Meeting, calling on researchers to accelerate progress against cancer by working more collaboratively and sharing data more freely. Ludwig Harvard director George Demetri was quoted in this article on the address, which also summarized key findings reported at the meeting.

April 1, 2016

Ludwig scientists Bert Vogelstein and Maximilian Diehn are quoted in an article about the increasing commercial interest in developing liquid biopsies to screen for cancer.

January 15, 2016

Ludwig Harvard director George Demetri talks to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews about what can be accomplished with Vice President Biden’s “Moonshot” initiative.

January 8, 2016

Ludwig Harvard director George Demetri was among the top cancer researchers who met with United States Vice President Joe Biden’s staff to discuss ideas for his cancer “moonshot” initiative announced during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

October 5, 2015

The NIH has awarded three grants totaling $31.8 million toward the agency’s new 4D Nucleome Program—a collaborative research initiative aimed at better understanding how DNA is arranged within the cell’s nucleus in four dimensions—three-dimensional space plus time—and how changes in that nuclear organization affect human health and disease.

May 29, 2015

Patients with colon and other cancers who have a specific defect in genes needed for DNA repair are far more likely to respond to a new class of drugs such as Merck & Co’s Keytruda, which enlist the immune system to attack tumors, a new study has shown.

April 15, 2015

As sequencing costs reduce and computing power expands, opportunities abound for scientists to learn about the genetics of cancer.

February 18, 2015

Researchers in the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Epigenomics Project have now identified most of the chemical tags on DNA and its associated proteins that influence gene function and help define more than 100 different kinds of human cells. The knowledge of these so-called epigenetic modifications has already led to new insights into Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and development.

November 19, 2014

Lab mice are tried-and-true stand-ins for human experimental subjects when it comes to medical studies, but sometimes what works for mice doesn’t work for men and women. Now a comparative survey of mouse and human genomes is taking a huge step toward figuring out why.

July 24, 2014

How Daniel K Ludwig’s formula for success has fuelled four decades – and counting – of top-notch cancer research.

April 10, 2014

Government funding, which has long supported the bulk of basic scientific research, is increasingly threatened in the U.S. If we hope to capitalize on the remarkable progress made in molecular medicine over the past few decades to solve such intractable problems as cancer, diabetes, and other diseases, something will have to change—and soon.

March 24, 2014

American science is increasingly starved of funds. In 2013, the U.S. National Institutes of Health was forced to slash $1.5 billion from its budget. As a consequence, only one in seven biomedical researchers who apply for an NIH grant today will receive one — marking an historic low.

January 25, 2014

This month, Daniel Ludwig’s trust made a final US$540 million donation to the six American Ludwig Centers he had helped to found. In total, Ludwig has given over $900 million to the six centres.

January 9, 2014

In the case of these six cancer research centers, a $540 million endowment is meant to help them pursue work that is speculative and risky, unencumbered by the profit requirements of “the market” or the conservatism and restrictions of government funding.

January 7, 2014

Six U.S. medical centers will each receive $90 million to pursue cancer research with very few strings attached.

January 6, 2014

Six facilities for cancer studies launched in 2006 by New York-based charity Ludwig Cancer Research will each receive $90-million more from the parent group to pursue unrestricted research into how the disease starts, spreads, and can be stopped.

January 6, 2014

The estate of the late American shipping magnate Daniel Ludwig on Monday donated a total of $540 million to six elite U.S. cancer research facilities, making one of the largest one-time gifts dedicated to combating the disease.

January 6, 2014

An American shipping magnate’s trust will announce on Monday one of the largest philanthropic gifts to support cancer research: more than half a billion dollars to be divided equally among six institutions, including Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

January 6, 2014

Stanford has received a vast sum of money to study a tiny population of deadly cancer cells, a gift that could help combat the heartbreak of phoenixlike disease recurrence.

January 6, 2014

Gift from Ludwig Cancer Research fund comes as government, private grants have declined.

January 6, 2014

The Ludwig Cancer Research organization announces one of the largest gifts ever toward cancer research with $540 million to six research centers across the country.

January 6, 2014

Johns Hopkins University scientists will share in one of the largest one-time philanthropic gifts for cancer research ever made, $540 million aimed at preventing and curing the disease, officials are scheduled to announce today.

January 6, 2014

MIT and Harvard each received $90 million from Ludwig Cancer Research, on behalf of its founder Daniel K. Ludwig, which will provide funding to transform basic research on metastasis, the process by which cancer cells spread from a primary tumor to distant sites in the body.

January 6, 2014

A trust fund created by billionaire shipping tycoon Daniel K. Ludwig ends today with a bang and a gift to research. Six U.S. medical centers will receive $540 million—$90 million each—from the fund to endow cancer studies in perpetuity.

December 6, 2013

A new study has revealed that brain cancer cells can actually evade many current cancer drugs—by temporarily scaling down a certain genetic mutation that the drugs target.

September 23, 2013

Scientists from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Karolinska Institutet report the development of an improved method for analyzing the genes expressed within a single cell. They say their finding will be relevant for everything from basic research to future cancer diagnostics.

June 27, 2013

Research demonstrates a little-appreciated but inescapable fact about cancer: It is an evolutionary disease. And studies are provoking new thinking about ways to use drugs to kill cancerous cells.

January 9, 2013

The Pap test, which has prevented countless deaths from cervical cancer, may eventually help to detect cancers of the uterus and ovaries as well, a new study suggests.

October 26, 2012

Epigenetic mechanisms influence processes from stem cell differentiation to cancer, and researchers are keen to understand how these events differ at the genomic scale—the so-called epigenome.

July 25, 2012

In a proof-of-principle study, the team evaluated the performance of their mRNA-seq protocol, called Smart-Seq, and used it to study single circulating tumor cells from melanoma.

July 3, 2012

Some junk is worth keeping. Non-coding, or junk, mouse DNA contains vast amounts of information vital to gene function—and those regulatory functions take up much more space on the genome than the all-important coding segments.

April 2, 2012

Few diseases have strong enough genetic components to make sequencing a solid way to assess individual risk.


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