A scientific innovation at the Frederick National Lab has opened the way for a new line of experiments in the decades-old quest for a drug to fight cancers triggered by mutant RAS proteins – which underlie one-third of all malignancies, including those of the pancreas, lung, and colon.

Using modified insect cells, a research group at the national lab recently invented a more accurate laboratory replica of a RAS protein, KRAS4b, that can be produced at high grade and in quantities adequate for research studies that were impossible previously.