In English | En español
Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

The RAS Initiative

Page Options

  • Print This Page
  • Email This Document

The RAS Initiative

Collaborate with RAS Experts, Find Reagents & Tools, Solve the RAS Challenge

Development of the RAS Initiative at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR)

Since the early 1970s, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has been responsible for a contract that supports the only Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) devoted principally to biomedical research. Located on a government campus in Frederick, MD, the FFRDC has provided a variety of laboratory services to the scientific community, performed research in response to national needs, and supervised subcontracts for the NCI for over 40 years.

In 2011, following a suggestion by the NCI’s National Cancer Advisory Board, NCI Director Harold Varmus named the operational laboratory arm of the FFRDC Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) and established an advisory committee (now called the Frederick National Lab Advisory Committee or (FNLAC). The FNLAC recommended that the FNLCR identify and undertake important and ambitious projects in cancer research that would be difficult to pursue without an orchestrated effort.   

After extensive consultation with the research community and with the FNLAC, Dr. Varmus, his NCI colleagues, and the leaders of Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. (the current contractor for the FFRDC) launched the RAS Initiative. Existing resources within the FFRDC were redirected to establish a hub of research activity under the direction of Frank McCormick, a widely respected leader of research on RAS proteins. Dr. McCormick directs this hub in the newly constructed Advanced Technology Research Facility at the FNLCR. Through scientific workshops and other interactions, Dr. McCormick and his colleagues have organized multiple lines of attack on the biochemical, physiological, and clinical properties of wild-type and mutant RAS proteins in normal and cancerous cells. These several projects are now being actively pursued at the hub of the RAS Initiative at the FNLCR and through many connections to investigators throughout the United States and elsewhere.

Through this website, we encourage everyone to collaborate with the experts already involved with this initiative; find and use the reagents and tools we have assembled; offer constructive advice about the plans we have made thus far; and help us solve the great challenges posed by the RAS gene family.

RAS Central

Post comments, ask questions, and share information with RAS experts on the RAS Central page. Join the scientific discussion!


What’s Happening Now

2014 UCSF Seminar Videos Posted

Ten presentations from the symposium "Targeting RAS Now for Future Cancer Therapy," held at the University of California, San Francisco, June 19th and 20th, 2014, are now available.

Message from Dr. Frank McCormick

Dr. Frank McCormick discusses his vision for the RAS Initiative and encourages collaboration among the 1,500 labs worldwide that work on the RAS pathways every day.

Commentary from Dr. Channing Der

Dr. Der asks why different RAS proteins are implicated in different human cancers in his new, in-depth commentary.

The RAS Initiative at-a-Glance

  • Initiated by NCI Director Dr. Harold Varmus in 2013, in conjunction with the Frederick National  Lab Advisory Committee (FNLAC).
  • Operated as a research hub based at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) in Frederick, MD, with spokes reaching into all corners of the extramural research community.
  • Intended to deepen knowledge of several aspects of RAS genes – their protein products, their role in cell signaling, and their functions in health and disease – with the explicit goals of improving treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of the many human cancers driven by mutant RAS genes.
  • Funded with existing resources committed to the FNLCR, a major component of NCI’s Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC).
  • Involves all sectors of the NCI research community.
  • Led by Dr. Frank McCormick, a distinguished RAS investigator from the University of California, San Francisco, and managed by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., the lead contractor for NCI’s FFRDC.

RAS Pathways & Reagents

Obtain unique and powerful RAS and RAS pathway reagents developed at FNLCR. 

  • RAS Entry Clone Collection 1
    • 15 RAS pathway genes
    • Open and closed formats
    • Plasmid DNA and glycerol stocks of E. coli DH10B harboring each plasmid
  • KRAS Entry Clone Collection 1
    • Wild-type KRAS gene and 10 point mutations
    • Open and closed formats
    • Plasmid DNA and glycerol stocks of E. coli DH10B harboring each plasmid