The US National Cancer Institute has launched a project to figure out how to block the Ras protein, ScienceInsider reports. Mutated Ras is present in about a third of all cancers and Ras has long been thought to be undruggable as it does not have an obvious binding site. "Researchers have begun to find some weak spots in RAS, however, and NCI now thinks it is time for a coordinated attack on this protein," ScienceInsider notes.
The $10 million RAS project is to focus on determining the structure of KRAS, finding ways to block KRAS, screening for compounds that break up KRAS complexes, and mapping the surfaces of cells with KRAS mutations, ScienceInsider adds. In addition, the project is to include siRNA screens to determine what proteins Ras-mutated cancer cells need to survive.