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Prathik Naidu USA, 17

Project: DNALoopR
Basic Human Needs: Health

Last year, one of Prathik’s closest friends was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully her treatment was successful, but her body was exposed to numerous drugs on the path to recovery. Unfortunately the exposure caused further harm to her health, which sparked Prathik’s mission to find a way to treat cancer patients with more efficient, personalized strategies. Prathik developed DNALoopR, a software that is faster, cheaper, and analyzes the biological patterns of cancer DNA 30% more accurately than the tools that currently exist in laboratories. Through a fast and manageable computational solution, DNALoopR gives unprecedented insight into the inner workings of cancer, which can help doctors develop personalized treatments for the millions of patients suffering from cancer each year. DNALoopR is currently being used at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and has analyzed more than 500 patients in the past couple of months. In the next year, Prathik hopes to expand his research to discover new, unconventional therapeutic options. Further in the future, Prathik would like to with pharmaceutical companies to speed up the process of personalized therapy for cancer, and create a biotechnology company that integrates computer science and cancer research. Ultimately, DNALoopR opens the doors for researchers to uncover the root causes of cancer and design more powerful treatment options.