Secret Vulnerabilities of Cancer’s “Death Star” Protein (KRAS) Revealed; In Ground-Breaking Study, Scientists Demonstrate Scalable Approach That Can Map Allosteric Sites Systematically for Entire Proteins; Study Provides First-Ever Complete Map of Allosteric Sites for Any Complete Protein in Any Species

A three-dimensional image showing the human protein KRAS (blue) interacting with RAF1 (yellow), one of its main partners. The blue-to-red color gradient indicates increasing potential for allosteric effects. (Credit: Weng, Faure, and Escobedo/Centro de Regulación Genómica).
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain, and the Wellcome Sanger Institute near Cambridge, UK, have comprehensively identified the allosteric control sites found in the protein KRAS. These are highly sought-after targets for drug development, representing secret vulnerabilities that can be exploited to control the effects of one of the most important causes of cancer. The study presents the first complete control map for any protein and was published on December 18, 2023 in Nature. The article is titled “The Energetic and Allosteric Landscape for KRAS Inhibition.” KRAS is one of the most frequently mutated genes in cancers of many types. It is found in 1 in 10 human cancers, with higher prevalence in deadly types such as pancreatic or lung cancers. It has been called the “Death Star” protein because of its spherical shape and lack of a good site to target with drugs. For this reason, KRAS has been historically considered "undruggable" since it was first discovered in 1982. 
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