The RAS Initiative
First RAS Initiative Symposium
More than 30 percent of all human cancers – including 95 percent of pancreatic cancers and 45 percent of colorectal cancers — are driven by mutations of the RAS family of genes. NCI established the RAS initiative in 2013 to explore innovative approaches for attacking the proteins encoded by mutant forms of RAS genes and to ultimately create effective, new therapies for RAS-related cancers.
Message from Dr. Lowy
NCI's RAS Initiative has come a long way since 2013, when former NCI director Dr. Harold Varmus and a group of experts envisioned a coordinated effort to understand the biology of RAS oncogenes. At that time, drugging RAS was a goal that had been all but abandoned by industry and many academic researchers, after years of trying. Today’s concerted effort, led by the RAS Initiative, is beginning to make headway.
I have a deeply personal interest in making Dr. Varmus’s vision succeed. For many years RAS was a primary focus of my lab, since the early days of RAS cloning when RAS genes were seemingly hiding in mouse retroviruses. It is highly gratifying to see the recent increased interest in the entire field of RAS biology—and the progress that is occurring—due to the RAS Initiative.
Our goal is to create a virtual network of scientists working collaboratively to solve the RAS problem. If you have not done so already, I encourage you to join our online forum RAS Central to share your challenges and ideas for solving the difficult and fascinating problem of oncogenic RAS.
Douglas R. Lowy, M.D.
Acting Director, National Cancer Institute
What’s Happening Now
The NCI requests post-doctoral fellowship applications related to the goal of building effective therapeutic approaches for KRAS-driven tumors. Applicants should apply through the Parent Program Announcement (F32); due date is December 8, 2015. For more information and how to apply, see the published Notice.
RAS Lab is an online discussion forum to facilitate the exchange of scientific information among researchers in cancer related to RAS.
NCI Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research and Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Announce 2016 KRAS Fellowship and KRAS Travel Scholarship.