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 is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.