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National Cancer Institute's 'RAS Project' Takes Aim at Common Cancer-Driving Protein

National Cancer Institute's 'RAS Project' Takes Aim at Common Cancer-Driving Protein | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is organizing a massive collaborative initiative between its laboratory and hundreds of outside researchers to discover cancer treatments targeting a class of genes called RAS genes and their products, RAS proteins. RAS genes, including their most common form, KRAS, are mutated in one-third of all cancers. Although the important role of RAS in cancer has been known for over 30 years, no treatments targeting RAS have been developed so far, because RAS proteins lack a 'binding site' where drugs could attack. However, recent research has uncovered potential weaknesses in RAS that future treatment might exploit. The NCI's RAS Project aims to 'crowdsource' the expertise of many researchers to better understand and tackle RAS.

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Science | June 24, 2013

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Science | June 24, 2013

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Science | June 24, 2013

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Science | June 24, 2013

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New Drug Overcomes Resistance to BRAF Inhibitors in Mice and Cultured Human Cells

An experimental drug may strengthen treatments that target melanomas with mutations in the BRAF gene, reported researchers from the pharmaceutical company Merck at the American Association for Cancer Research's 2013 meeting. Treatments that target BRAF often stop working because tumors activate a related protein called ERK, which is the target of Merck's new drug. Called SCH772984, the drug inhibits ERK in cultured human tumor cells with BRAF, NRAS, or KRAS mutations; slows cell division in human tumor cells that resist treatments that target BRAF or MEK; and shrinks tumors in mice. The researchers have begun a phase I clinical trial of an ERK inhibitor in people with tumors.

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American Association for Cancer Research│Apr 7, 2013

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Clinical Trial Reveals Patients' Willingness to Undergo Genetic Testing for Personalized Cancer Treatment

Clinical Trial Reveals Patients' Willingness to Undergo Genetic Testing for Personalized Cancer Treatment | Melanoma Dispatch | Scoop.it

A recently completed clinical trial examining the use of genetic testing to direct cancer treatment was able to exceed its enrollment goal of 600 participants in less than 2 years instead of the expected 5 years. Patients were willing to participate even though they had to undergo an additional biopsy, revealing considerable interest in personalized treatment based on genetic tests. The trial confirmed that erlotinib (Tarceva) is highly effective in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a mutation in the EGFR gene. It also found that NSCLC patients with mutations in the KRAS gene did not benefit from the novel cancer drug selumetinib. In contrast, not enough small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients had any of the investigated mutations to properly test how they responded to treatments. Such mutations will require trials involving thousands of patients to draw reliable conclusions.

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013

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ScienceDaily | May 15, 2013