IIT Madras develops algorithm to track changes in cancerous cells

AI-based model may help in the timely prescription of drugs

July 13, 2021 12:09 am | Updated 12:09 am IST - CHENNAI

Next breakthrough:  IIT Madras researchers hope that the model will help discover potentially novel drug targets.

Next breakthrough: IIT Madras researchers hope that the model will help discover potentially novel drug targets.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have developed a mathematical model to identify cancer-causing alterations in cells.

The algorithm, driven by artificial intelligence, uses an unexplored technique of leveraging DNA composition to pinpoint genetic alterations responsible for cancer progression.

Although DNA sequencing has revolutionised the area of cancer research, the complexity and size of the sequencing datasets pinpointing the exact changes from the genomes of cancer patients is difficult.

B. Ravindran, head of the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and AI and Mindtree faculty fellow, and Karthik Raman, faculty at the same centre, led the research. Shayantan Banerjee, a master’s student, performed the experiments and analysed the data. The results of the experiment were published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancers .

One of the major challenges involves the differentiation between relatively small number of ‘driver’ mutations that enable cancer cells to grow and the large number of ‘passenger’ mutations that do not have any effect on the progress of the disease,” Mr. Ravindran said.

The researchers hope that the mathematical model will ultimately help discover potentially novel drug targets and enable prescription of right drug at the right time.

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