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Kras plays dual role in pancreatic cancer

Promise - Summer 2012

The Kras oncogene, a genetic mutation that drives the initiation of pancreatic cancer, also manipulates metabolic pathways to encourage tumors to grow, scientists report in the journal Cell.

Haoqiang Ying, Ph.D.

The findings open a new category of potential targets for thwarting the influential mutation, says study co-lead author Haoqiang Ying, Ph.D., instructor in MD Anderson’s Department of Genomic Medicine.

“We’re working with MD Anderson’s Institute for Applied Cancer Science to identify and validate metabolism gene targets for drug development,” Ying says.

“Activating mutations in the Kras oncogene are nearly universal in pancreatic cancers,” says study senior author and MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho, M.D., adding that the study is the first to explore Kras’s role in maintaining pancreatic tumors in an in vivo setting.

Funding resources include the NCI, BIDMC Research Capital Fund, Kimmel Scholar Award, AACR-PanCAN Career Development Award and Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center