University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, DSc (Hon)

Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, DSc (Hon)

Professor, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Dept. of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF
David A. Wood Distinguished Professorship of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Experimental Therapeutics

Research Summary

Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, is Professor of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Prior to joining the UCSF faculty, Dr. McCormick pursued cancer-related work with several Bay Area biotechnology firms and held positions with Cetus Corporation (Director of Molecular Biology, 1981-1990; Vice President of Research, 1990-1991) and Chiron Corporation, where he was Vice President of Research from 1991 to 1992. In 1992 he founded Onyx Pharmaceuticals, a company dedicated to developing new cancer therapies, and served as its Chief Scientific Officer until 1996. At Onyx Pharmaceuticals, he initiated and led drug discovery efforts that led to the approval of Sorafenib in 2005 for treatment of renal cell cancer, and for liver cancer in 2007, and the approval of ONYX-015 in 2006 in China for treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer. Sorafenib is being tested in multiple indications worldwide. In addition, Dr. McCormick’s group led to the identification of a CDK4 kinase inhibitor. Dr. McCormick's current research interests center on the fundamental differences between normal and cancer cells that can allow the discovery of novel therapeutic strategies.

Dr. McCormick holds the David A. Wood Chair of Tumor Biology and Cancer Research at UCSF. Dr. McCormick is the author of over 285 scientific publications and holds 20 issued patents. He also served as President, 2012-2013 for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). More recently, he has taken a leadership role at the Frederick National Lab for Cancer Research, overseeing an NCI supported national effort to develop therapies against Ras-driven cancers. These cancers include most pancreatic cancers, and many colorectal and lung cancers, and are amongst the most difficult cancers to treat.

Education

University of Birmingham, England, B.Sc., 1972, Biochemistry
University of Cambridge, England, Ph.D., 1975, Biochemistry


Professional Experience

  • 1975-1978
    Professor Seymour S. Cohen, SUNY at Stony Brook (Post Doctoral Fellow)
  • 1978-1981
    Dr. Alan Smith, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (Post Doctoral Fellow)
  • 1981-1990
    Cetus Corporation (Director of Molecular Biology)
  • 1990-1991
    Cetus Corporation (Vice President, Research)
  • 1991-1992
    Chiron Corporation (Vice President, Research)
  • 1992-1996
    Onyx Pharmaceuticals (Founder, Chief Scientific Officer)
  • 1997-2013
    University of California, San Francisco, Microbiology & Immunology (Professor)
  • 1997-2014
    University of California, San Francisco, Cancer Center (Director, Associate Dean)
  • 2013-2016
    University of California, San Francisco, Microbiology & Immunology (Professor Emeritus)
  • 2013-2016
    University of California, San Francisco, Cancer Center (Professor Emeritus)
  • 2013-present
    National Cancer Institute, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Project Leader
  • 2016-present
    University of California, San Francisco, Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology, Professor
  • 2016-present
    University of California, San Francisco, Cancer Center, Professor

Honors & Awards

  • 1996
    Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 2002
    Bristol Myers Squibb Unrestricted Cancer Research Grant
  • 2002
    AACR – G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award
  • 2002
    Novartis Drew Award in Biomedical Research
  • 2003
    University of Chicago, Cancer Research Center, Shubitz Award
  • 2005
    Institute of Medicine
  • 2010
    ASCO Science of Oncology Award
  • 2014
    National Academy of Science
  • 2015
    Memorial Sloan Kettering, Sloan Award
  • 2017
    Luminary Award in GI Cancer
  • 2018
    Biochemical Society Centenary Award

Selected Publications

  1. Donohue E, Khorsand S, Mercado G, Varney KM, Wilder PT, Yu W, MacKerell AD, Alexander P, Van QN, Moree B, Stephen AG, Weber DJ, Salafsky J, McCormick F. Second harmonic generation detection of Ras conformational changes and discovery of a small molecule binder. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Aug 09.
    View on PubMed
  2. Dharmaiah S, Tran TH, Messing S, Agamasu C, Gillette WK, Yan W, Waybright T, Alexander P, Esposito D, Nissley DV, McCormick F, Stephen AG, Simanshu DK. Structures of N-terminally processed KRAS provide insight into the role of N-acetylation. Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 19; 9(1):10512.
    View on PubMed
  3. Wang MT, Fer N, Galeas J, Collisson EA, Kim SE, Sharib J, McCormick F. Blockade of leukemia inhibitory factor as a therapeutic approach to KRAS driven pancreatic cancer. Nat Commun. 2019 Jul 11; 10(1):3055.
    View on PubMed
  4. Castel P, Cheng A, Cuevas-Navarro A, Everman DB, Papageorge AG, Simanshu DK, Tankka A, Galeas J, Urisman A, McCormick F. RIT1 oncoproteins escape LZTR1-mediated proteolysis. Science. 2019 03 15; 363(6432):1226-1230.
    View on PubMed
  5. Agamasu C, Ghirlando R, Taylor T, Messing S, Tran TH, Bindu L, Tonelli M, Nissley DV, McCormick F, Stephen AG. KRAS Prenylation Is Required for Bivalent Binding with Calmodulin in a Nucleotide-Independent Manner. Biophys J. 2019 Mar 19; 116(6):1049-1063.
    View on PubMed
  6. Lee CS, Lee LC, Yuan TL, Chakka S, Fellmann C, Lowe SW, Caplen NJ, McCormick F, Luo J. MAP kinase and autophagy pathways cooperate to maintain RAS mutant cancer cell survival. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Feb 01.
    View on PubMed
  7. McCormick F. Progress in targeting RAS with small molecule drugs. Biochem J. 2019 Jan 31; 476(2):365-374.
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  8. Lakshman B, Messing S, Schmid EM, Clogston JD, Gillette WK, Esposito D, Kessing B, Fletcher DA, Nissley DV, McCormick F, Stephen AG, Jean-Francois FL. Quantitative biophysical analysis defines key components modulating recruitment of the GTPase KRAS to the plasma membrane. J Biol Chem. 2019 02 08; 294(6):2193-2207.
    View on PubMed
  9. Held PJ, McCormick F, Chertow GM, Peters TG, Roberts JP. Would government compensation of living kidney donors exploit the poor? An empirical analysis. PLoS One. 2018; 13(11):e0205655.
    View on PubMed
  10. Shah KN, Bhatt R, Rotow J, Rohrberg J, Olivas V, Wang VE, Hemmati G, Martins MM, Maynard A, Kuhn J, Galeas J, Donnella HJ, Kaushik S, Ku A, Dumont S, Krings G, Haringsma HJ, Robillard L, Simmons AD, Harding TC, McCormick F, Goga A, Blakely CM, Bivona TG, Bandyopadhyay S. Aurora kinase A drives the evolution of resistance to third-generation EGFR inhibitors in lung cancer. Nat Med. 2019 Jan; 25(1):111-118.
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  11. Young LC, Hartig N, Boned Del Río I, Sari S, Ringham-Terry B, Wainwright JR, Jones GG, McCormick F, Rodriguez-Viciana P. SHOC2-MRAS-PP1 complex positively regulates RAF activity and contributes to Noonan syndrome pathogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 11 06; 115(45):E10576-E10585.
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  12. Rauen KA, Schoyer L, Schill L, Stronach B, Albeck J, Andresen BS, Cavé H, Ellis M, Fruchtman SM, Gelb BD, Gibson CC, Gripp K, Hefner E, Huang WYC, Itkin M, Kerr B, Linardic CM, McMahon M, Oberlander B, Perlstein E, Ratner N, Rogers L, Schenck A, Shankar S, Shvartsman S, Stevenson DA, Stites EC, Stork PJS, Sun C, Therrien M, Ullian EM, Widemann BC, Yeh E, Zampino G, Zenker M, Timmer W, McCormick F. Proceedings of the fifth international RASopathies symposium: When development and cancer intersect. Am J Med Genet A. 2018 Dec; 176(12):2924-2929.
    View on PubMed
  13. Ye X, Luke BT, Wei BR, Kaczmarczyk JA, Loncarek J, Dwyer JE, Johann DJ, Saul RG, Nissley DV, McCormick F, Whiteley GR, Blonder J. Direct molecular dissection of tumor parenchyma from tumor stroma in tumor xenograft using mass spectrometry-based glycoproteomics. Oncotarget. 2018 May 29; 9(41):26431-26452.
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  14. Sanchez-Vega F, Mina M, Armenia J, Chatila WK, Luna A, La KC, Dimitriadoy S, Liu DL, Kantheti HS, Saghafinia S, Chakravarty D, Daian F, Gao Q, Bailey MH, Liang WW, Foltz SM, Shmulevich I, Ding L, Heins Z, Ochoa A, Gross B, Gao J, Zhang H, Kundra R, Kandoth C, Bahceci I, Dervishi L, Dogrusoz U, Zhou W, Shen H, Laird PW, Way GP, Greene CS, Liang H, Xiao Y, Wang C, Iavarone A, Berger AH, Bivona TG, Lazar AJ, Hammer GD, Giordano T, Kwong LN, McArthur G, Huang C, Tward AD, Frederick MJ, McCormick F, Meyerson M, Van Allen EM, Cherniack AD, Ciriello G, Sander C, Schultz N. Oncogenic Signaling Pathways in The Cancer Genome Atlas. Cell. 2018 04 05; 173(2):321-337.e10.
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  15. Yuan TL, Amzallag A, Bagni R, Yi M, Afghani S, Burgan W, Fer N, Strathern LA, Powell K, Smith B, Waters AM, Drubin D, Thomson T, Liao R, Greninger P, Stein GT, Murchie E, Cortez E, Egan RK, Procter L, Bess M, Cheng KT, Lee CS, Lee LC, Fellmann C, Stephens R, Luo J, Lowe SW, Benes CH, McCormick F. Differential Effector Engagement by Oncogenic KRAS. Cell Rep. 2018 02 13; 22(7):1889-1902.
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  16. McCormick F. c-Raf in KRas Mutant Cancers: A Moving Target. Cancer Cell. 2018 02 12; 33(2):158-159.
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  17. Boettcher M, Tian R, Blau JA, Markegard E, Wagner RT, Wu D, Mo X, Biton A, Zaitlen N, Fu H, McCormick F, Kampmann M, McManus MT. Dual gene activation and knockout screen reveals directional dependencies in genetic networks. Nat Biotechnol. 2018 02; 36(2):170-178.
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  18. Kitagawa M, Liao PJ, Lee KH, Wong J, Shang SC, Minami N, Sampetrean O, Saya H, Lingyun D, Prabhu N, Diam GK, Sobota R, Larsson A, Nordlund P, McCormick F, Ghosh S, Epstein DM, Dymock BW, Lee SH. Dual blockade of the lipid kinase PIP4Ks and mitotic pathways leads to cancer-selective lethality. Nat Commun. 2017 12 19; 8(1):2200.
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  19. Hangauer MJ, Viswanathan VS, Ryan MJ, Bole D, Eaton JK, Matov A, Galeas J, Dhruv HD, Berens ME, Schreiber SL, McCormick F, McManus MT. Drug-tolerant persister cancer cells are vulnerable to GPX4 inhibition. Nature. 2017 11 09; 551(7679):247-250.
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  20. Waters AM, Ozkan-Dagliyan I, Vaseva AV, Fer N, Strathern LA, Hobbs GA, Tessier-Cloutier B, Gillette WK, Bagni R, Whiteley GR, Hartley JL, McCormick F, Cox AD, Houghton PJ, Huntsman DG, Philips MR, Der CJ. Evaluation of the selectivity and sensitivity of isoform- and mutation-specific RAS antibodies. Sci Signal. 2017 Sep 26; 10(498).
    View on PubMed

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