UNC Logo Pancreatic cancer apparently turns out to be fatal for more than 38,000 people each year in the United States. It seems that new drugs and treatments for this ailment is the need of the hour. According to a groundbreaking research initiated by scientists from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the gene KRAS oncogene is mutated in virtually all pancreatic cancers and can be a promising target for halting the growth of pancreatic cancer tumors.

The KRAS gene is supposedly capable of activating cancer cell growth in numerous ways through multiple cell signaling pathways. In the current research, experts focused on a protein known as RGL2. This protein is believed to be a vital component of KRAS signaling to another class of proteins like Ral GTPases, assisting in the growth of pancreatic tumors. Channing Der, PhD, lead researcher, and colleagues showed that RGL2 is overexpressed in laboratory grown pancreatic tumor cells as well as tissue taken from pancreatic cancer patients.

The research was published in the November 5, 2010 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.