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. McCormick F. Sticking it to KRAS: Covalent Inhibitors Enter the Clinic. Cancer Cell. 2020 Jan 13; 37(1):3-4.
    View on PubMed
  2. Gross AM, Frone M, Gripp KW, Gelb BD, Schoyer L, Schill L, Stronach B, Biesecker LG, Esposito D, Hernandez ER, Legius E, Loh ML, Martin S, Morrison DK, Rauen KA, Wolters PL, Zand D, McCormick F, Savage SA, Stewart DR, Widemann BC, Yohe ME. Advancing RAS/RASopathy therapies: An NCI-sponsored intramural and extramural collaboration for the study of RASopathies. Am J Med Genet A. 2020 Jan 08.
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  3. Mukhopadhyay S, Goswami D, Adiseshaiah PP, Burgan W, Yi M, Guerin TM, Kozlov SV, Nissley DV, McCormick F. Undermining glutaminolysis bolsters chemotherapy while NRF2 promotes chemoresistance in KRAS-driven pancreatic cancers. Cancer Res. 2020 Jan 07.
    View on PubMed
  4. Sherekar M, Han SW, Ghirlando R, Messing S, Drew M, Rabara D, Waybright T, Juneja P, O'Neill H, Stanley CB, Bhowmik D, Ramanathan A, Subramaniam S, Nissley DV, Gillette W, McCormick F, Esposito D. Biochemical and structural analyses reveal that the tumor suppressor neurofibromin (NF1) forms a high-affinity dimer. J Biol Chem. 2019 Dec 13.
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  5. Gripp KW, Schill L, Schoyer L, Stronach B, Bennett AM, Blaser S, Brown A, Burdine R, Burkitt-Wright E, Castel P, Darilek S, Dias A, Dyer T, Ellis M, Erickson G, Gelb BD, Green T, Gross A, Ho A, Holder JL, Inoue SI, Jelin AC, Kennedy A, Klein R, Kontaridis MI, Magoulas P, McConnell DB, McCormick F, Neel BG, Prada CE, Rauen KA, Roberts A, Rodriguez-Viciana P, Rosen N, Rumbaugh G, Sablina A, Solman M, Tartaglia M, Thomas A, Timmer WC, Venkatachalam K, Walsh KS, Wolters PL, Yi JS, Zenker M, Ratner N. The sixth international RASopathies symposium: Precision medicine-From promise to practice. Am J Med Genet A. 2019 Dec 11.
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  6. Vu K, Wu CH, Yang CY, Zhan A, Cavallone E, Berry W, Heeter P, Pincus L, Wieduwilt MJ, William BM, Andreadis C, Kaplan LK, McCormick F, Porcu P, Brammer JE, Ai WZ. Romidepsin plus Liposomal Doxorubicin is Safe and Effective in Patients with Relapsed or Refractory T-cell Lymphoma: Results of a Phase I Dose-Escalation Study. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Nov 26.
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  7. Rabara D, Tran TH, Dharmaiah S, Stephens RM, McCormick F, Simanshu DK, Holderfield M. KRAS G13D sensitivity to neurofibromin-mediated GTP hydrolysis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 29; 116(44):22122-22131.
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  8. Wang VE, Xue JY, Frederick DT, Cao Y, Lin E, Wilson C, Urisman A, Carbone DP, Flaherty KT, Bernards R, Lito P, Settleman J, McCormick F. Adaptive Resistance to Dual BRAF/MEK Inhibition in BRAF-Driven Tumors through Autocrine FGFR Pathway Activation. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Dec 01; 25(23):7202-7217.
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  9. 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 27; 116(35):17290-17297.
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  10. 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.
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  11. 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 07 11; 10(1):3055.
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  12. Bai RY, Esposito D, Tam AJ, McCormick F, Riggins GJ, Wade Clapp D, Staedtke V. Feasibility of using NF1-GRD and AAV for gene replacement therapy in NF1-associated tumors. Gene Ther. 2019 06; 26(6):277-286.
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  13. 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.
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  14. 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 03 19; 116(6):1049-1063.
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  15. 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 Mar 05; 116(10):4508-4517.
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  16. McCormick F. Progress in targeting RAS with small molecule drugs. Biochem J. 2019 01 31; 476(2):365-374.
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  17. 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.
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  18. 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.
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  19. 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 01; 25(1):111-118.
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  20. 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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