Chemotherapy can cause hair loss and nausea because it targets all fast-growing cells. But more precise targeting of cancer cells could spare healthy cells. By investigating transposable elements in DNA, IU School of Medicine Professor Milan Radovich hopes to better understand how they affect the development of cancers.
Radovich is part of the Precision Health Grand Challenge, which aims to cure at least one cancer through the development of new cell, gene, and immune therapies.
Radovich specializes in triple-negative breast cancer, a diagnosis that too often results in a poor prognosis. The aim is to create precision treatments tailored to the individual to better treat disease. Starting with data from the Cancer Genome Atlas and the IU Health Precision Genomics program, Radovich runs the data through sequencing technology. Thanks to IU’s suite of supercomputers, Radovich can process terabytes of data quickly to find transposable elements within the genome.
“We want to figure out what makes cancer tick,” says Radovich. “The computational approach is critical to better drugs and better treatment.”