In the next few years, the researchers plan to study how the human body reacts to radiation in order to predict how the body might respond to radiation-induced changes to DNA and protein.
The goal is to understand how genes are switched on and off in response to different doses of radiation and how that alters the response.
This information could inform how treatments are designed, how the drugs are developed and used and how the immune system reacts to those treatments.
Dr. E.F. Rauch, director of the Molecular Genetics Unit at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany, said the results could be used to design more effective therapies.
“The results will be very interesting because it shows that there is a large population of people with a lot of variants in their genomes and we could use this data to design a drug that targets these variants,” Dr. Rarauch said.
Dr. Raul’s team is studying a few different variants in the genome, and he said it’s not clear yet how many of them affect how the cancer cells respond to various radiation doses.
The study was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Science and Technology and by the Max-Planck Foundation.