Dominic Esposito presents his work on the RAS Initiative.

ATLANTA – Investigators from the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research will update the cancer community on the National Cancer Institute’s RAS Initiative and share their latest work in clinical trials, bioinformatics and technology initiatives at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2019.

More than 20 abstracts by FNL investigators will be presented in mini symposia, late-breaking research and poster sessions throughout the March 29 to April 3 meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center. FNL researchers will also participate in the National Cancer Institute’s “Meet the Experts” program held each day at the NCI’s exhibit hall location. Dr. Ethan Dmitrovsky, director of the FNL, will serve as a mentor at a networking forum for future cancer researchers.

“The fundamental science of cancer research approaches the disease from multiple angles with multiple areas of expertise, many of which are represented in the hundreds of investigations underway at any one time here at the Frederick National Laboratory,” said Leonard Freedman, Ph.D., chief science officer. “When we come together with colleagues at the AACR meeting, we’re able to build connections across disciplines that lead us to a better understanding of cancer and pathways to better treatments.”

The AACR Annual Meeting program covers the latest discoveries across the spectrum of cancer research—from population science and prevention; to cancer biology, translational, and clinical studies; to survivorship and advocacy—and highlights the work of the best minds in research and medicine from institutions all over the world. 

The FNL is the hub of the NCI’s RAS Initiative, which is an open model of collaboration among government, academic, and industry researchers. More than 60 FNL scientists work on investigating approaches to treat RAS-driven cancer. Mutant RAS genes drive more than 30 percent of all human cancers, including 95 percent of pancreatic cancers and 45 percent of colorectal cancers. 

The RAS update at AACR will focus particularly on structural biology, RAS membrane dynamics, and drug screening efforts. RAS investigators at the FNL will also present a session specific to KRAS, which is the most commonly mutated gene in the RAS family.

Abstracts Across the Scope of Cancer Research

Investigators in many of FNL’s research programs will present abstracts, including the Applied and Developmental Research, Cancer Research Technology, Basic Science, Biomedical Informatics and Data Science, and Clinical Research programs. 

Bioinformatics is a growing field, leveraging large data sets to answer scientific questions. FNL’s Advanced Biomedical Computational Science group will present a poster on how the FNL’s Data Coordinating Center enables data access, sharing and collaborative and reproducible research.

At the NCI booth in the exhibit all, two FNL scientists will present short talks as part of the “Meet the Experts” program. Dominic Esposito, Ph.D. will present “Producing High-Quality Protein and Cell Line Reagents for Cancer Drug Discovery” on Monday, April 1 at 9 a.m. and Tomas Vilimas, Ph.D. will address “Genomic Landscape of Patient-Derived Xenograft Models from the NCI Patient-Derived Models Repository (PDMR)” on Tuesday, April 2 at 4:30 p.m.

By Mary Ellen Hackett, staff writer

Image: Dom Esposito presents his research at a Biotech Connecter event at the Frederick National Laboratory.

The Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research is dedicated to improving human health through discovery and innovation in the biomedical sciences, focusing on cancer, AIDS, and emerging infectious diseases. FNL is currently operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. for the National Cancer Institute.