CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Researchers at the University of Virginia have developed a tool that they say will help improve cancer care.

According to a post on the university’s website, researchers at the UVA Health Cancer Center have developed an algorithm, called KSTAR, that will quickly and easily identify patients who would benefit from kinase inhibitors.

Kinase inhibitors, which are some of the most common drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to treat center, can be hugely beneficial for certain patients but are not effective for everyone. The process of identifying those who would benefit from the drugs is often difficult and sometimes unreliable.

The purpose of KSTAR is to predict key information using available data and give individual kinases “KSTAR scores” which doctors can use to determine whether a patient will respond to kinase inhibitors. The researchers found that KSTAR worked reliably across different types of tissue, suggesting it could be used with many different types of cancer.

“We are really excited about this algorithm, which performs better than existing approaches with fewer requirements and assumptions – making it more applicable to understanding a cancer state from a single snapshot of the tumor,” said researcher Kristen M. Naegle of UVA’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Combining this approach with existing biomarkers for cancer diagnosis may help us to better tailor therapies, design new combination therapies, anticipate response to treatment and design better clinical trials.”

The researchers’ findings were published in the scientific journal Nature.