UCSF

Targeting a key driver of cancer

Shokat breakthrough discovers a K-Ras binding site to attach and inhibit activity

In the epic fight against cancer, a protein called Ras has been one of the arch-villains.

First identified in human cancers in the 1980s, this protein is responsible for roughly one-third of all cases, as well as some of the deadliest, including lung, colon and pancreatic cancers.

Ras is a key switch in a multi-step cascade of molecular interactions that take place within cells. Mutations in Ras proteins can result in excessive signals for cells to proliferate and cause them to ignore cues for programmed cell death, leading to unchecked growth and tumor formation.

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About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy aims to solve the most pressing health care problems and strives to ensure that each patient receives the safest, most effective treatments. Our discoveries seed the development of novel therapies, and our researchers consistently lead the nation in NIH funding. The School’s doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program, with its unique emphasis on scientific thinking, prepares students to be critical thinkers and leaders in their field.