The RAS Initiative

The Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) is an integral part of an aggressive national initiative to further scientific understanding of cancers driven by mutations of the RAS family of genes. Established by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the RAS Initiative seeks to facilitate connections between and among researchers, bringing new ideas and technologies to bear on RAS.

The RAS Initiative supports the development of therapies against tumors that contain mutations in members of the RAS family of oncogenes. In contrast to progress in other areas of cancer therapeutics, researchers have not successfully developed effective treatments against proteins produced by RAS oncogenes. RAS genes are mutated in about one-third of all cancers, including most pancreatic adenocarcinomas, about 45 percent of colorectal cancers, and about 35 percent of lung adenocarcinomas. To address this challenge, the RAS Initiative was launched as a large-scale collaboration to identify therapeutic strategies for patients with RAS-driven cancers. The Advanced Technology Research Facility at the Frederick National Lab serves as the program hub that engages academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and NCI intramural labs as collaborating spokes in the RAS Initiative.

Learn more about funding opportunities and other details of the initiative by going to the National Cancer Institute’s RAS Central page: https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/ras/spokes-funding.

Infographic that says more than 30% of all human cancers are driven by mutations of the RAS genes. It explains that 95% of pancreatic cancers have a KRAS mutation; 45% of colorectal cancers have a KRAS mutation; 35% of Lung cancers have a KRAS mutation; 30% of Acute Myeloid Leukemias have an NRAS mutation; 15% of Melanomas have a NRAS mutation; and 15% of Bladder cancers have an HRAS mutation. Dr. Frank McCormick, the RAS National Program Advisor, is quoted as saying RAS oncogenes are the worst oncogenes.

The RAS Pathway

The RAS Pathway diagram thumbnail