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UCSF’s Dr. Kevan Shokat To Receive “Breakthrough Science Award” For New Lung Cancer Treatment

Award To Be Presented at the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation 24th Annual Collaborating for A Cure Gala

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) will present its SWCRF Breakthrough Science Award to Dr. Kevan Shokat, Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, at the University of California, San Francisco, and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for discovering a method to inhibit the mutant KRAS protein – a common driver of the growth of lung cancer as well as colorectal and pancreatic cancer. His findings led to a new FDA-approved medication that shrinks lung cancer tumors by up to 50 percent with remarkably low toxicity.

“This medication is a real game changer and is a perfect example of why we do what we do here at the SWCRF – fund leading scientists around the world and encourage them to work together towards discovering minimally toxic treatments,” said Dr. Samuel Waxman. “I am pleased to recognize Dr. Shokat with our first Breakthrough Science Award for his groundbreaking, life-saving, research.”

Researchers had known about KRAS for more than 40 years but had all but given up finding a compound that could shut it off, referring to KRAS as “undruggable” or cancer’s “Death Star”. However, in 2008 SWCRF made its first investment into the pioneering research by Kevan Shokat, PhD., who was seeking molecules that could attach to the mutated protein and prevent it from functioning. Five years later, Dr. Shokat, released data showing the discovery of a compound that effectively targeted the cancer cell leading to the creation of new medications.

“Lung cancer is just the beginning. In the next several years we can expect newer, even more effective drugs that will improve treatment outcomes for thousands of patients with life-threatening cancers caused by mutant KRAS,” said Dr. Shokat. “I am grateful for the 15 years of support from the SWCRF that allowed my lab to pursue this research even when it seemed impossible and profoundly honored to receive this Breakthrough Science Award.”

The SWCRF Breakthrough Science Award will be presented to Dr. Shokat at the 24th Annual Collaborating for A Cure Gala benefitting the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. The event will be held in the evening for Thursday November 18th, 2021, and include fellow honoree, Debra Waller, Chairman and CEO of Jockey International, Inc. For more information about the event visit

About the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF):

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation is an international organization dedicated to curing and preventing cancer. The Foundation is a pioneer in cancer research and its mission is to eradicate cancer by funding cutting-edge research that identifies and corrects abnormal gene function that causes cancer and develops minimally toxic treatments for patients. Through the Foundation’s collaborative group of world-class scientists, the Institute Without Walls, investigators share information and tools to speed the pace of cancer research. Since its inception in 1976, the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation has awarded more than $100 million to support the work of more than 200 researchers across the globe. For more information, visit