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Mining Genetic Data Could Help Treat Diseases

Four men, two sitting in front and two standing behind
UVA researchers working on disease treatment with genetic data, from left to right: Aakrosh Ratan, Pankaj Kumar, Anindya Dutta and Ajay Chatrath. (Photo: Dan Addison/UVA Communications)

Researchers at the University of Virginia say doctors can now use genetic data to improve their abilities to treat cancer and many other diseases.

Anindya Dutta, chair of  the department of biochemistry and molecular genetics, says they have mined data on 10,000 cancer cases and identified inherited variations in our genes that can predict patient outcomes. "I suspect this approach can be extended to many, many common diseases," Dutta said, "ranging from hypertension, diabetes or even the current COVID-19 epidemic."

He says it can help determine which treatment will work best for individual patients and is eager to share his findings with researchers and private industry to apply to other diseases.