Fang receives collaborative CTSI Pilot Award for precision medicine

Congratulations to Dr. Ruogu Fang, assistant professor, who received a collaborative UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute Pilot Award for precision medicine.

Fang and UF researchers’ objective is to explore a novel approach to identify patients predisposed to cancer therapy-induced cardiotoxicity through interrogation of pharmacogenomics, medical images and clinical factors.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. Modern advances in cancer treatment have led to improved survival after a cancer diagnosis. However, many new cancer therapies have paradoxically resulted in the emergence of serious cardiovascular effects/complications (e.g. heart failure, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, myocardial ischemia, hypertension, arrhythmia, thromboembolism, and pericardial disease), with the potential to negatively impact patient survival.

One of the most important clinical implications of these complications is treatment interruption, which is associated with cancer recurrence. Current risk stratification strategies focus on active or close surveillance rather than preemptive prevention or identification of patients at risk of developing cancer drug-induced cardiotoxicity.

The fact that not all patients treated with these drugs develop cardiac complications suggests that genetic factors may contribute to the development of cardiotoxicity. Despite the accelerating pace of anticancer therapy discovery and their approval to replace traditional chemotherapy, there is a lack of data about the genetic and other clinical determinants of susceptibility to cardiotoxicity associated with the use of these cancer agents. To fill the current knowledge gap, the researchers propose a multimodal approach to identify pharmacogenomics, medical imaging biomarkers and clinical factors associated with cardiotoxicity related to cancer therapies.

The long-term goal is to identify and manage cancer patients at high risk for cardiotoxicity before the cardiotoxic cancer therapies to prevent or minimize such risk.

In order to accomplish the objectives of this application, UF has assembled a multidisciplinary team of investigators from the University of Florida Colleges of Pharmacy (Dr. Yan Gong), Engineering (Dr. Ruogu Fang), Medicine (Drs. Yonghui Wu and William Hogan) with expertise in pharmacogenomics, statistical genetics, biomedical engineering, computer science, machine learning and biomedical informatics.