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Creating fruit fly avatars: it sounds like something you might do in a video game, but at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, it’s something that’s being done in the lab in an effort to save lives—on a case-by-case basis. Laura Towart has always had a passion for personalized medicine, and for the last seven years, she’s played an important role in a new method called Personal Discovery Process (PDP), which is a technology that sequences individual tumors, injects the genetic mutations into a fruit fly pupa, and then tests thousands of different drug combinations on the fly in order to find the most effective drug therapy for an individual patient.

Towart joins the podcast to explain the technical aspects of this new research, the benefits and drawbacks of using a fly model, how deep learning and artificial intelligence technologies are helping to make the process more efficient and cost-effective, how quickly this method can produce results, and what’s on the horizon for the PDP team at Mount Sinai.

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