The RAS Initiative
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.
The RAS Initiative is using cutting edge technologies to better define target vulnerabilities in RAS proteins, complexes of RAS proteins with its effector and regulatory partners, cell surface proteins that are enriched in cancer cells driven by mutant RAS, and pathways that are essential to cancer cells but not normal cells.
A primary goal of the RAS Initiative at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) is to develop assays for RAS activity, localization, and signaling and adapt those assays so they can be used for finding new drug candidates.
To help solve the 30-year challenge of how to treat RAS-driven cancers, we need an open model of collaboration. Whether you are a dedicated RAS expert or curious researcher, we encourage you to help advance the research by joining our RAS community.
Not all RAS mutations in pancreatic tissue lead to cancer. Cells that acquire RAS mutations can be outcompeted by healthy, neighboring cells, with the EphA2 receptor playing an important role in this process.