Collaborating with Radhika Gade-Andavolu, PhD, Director, Genetic Research Institute of the Desert, (a non-profit organization located on the Eisenhower Medical Center campus), their research has shown very important and exciting data in the new and quickly-developing field of melanoma genetics. “We think that genetics is the medicine of the future,” Dr. Rubakovic says. Since 2008, she has been working actively with Dr. Gade-Andavolu in raising funds, designing protocols and collecting patient data for the melanoma studies. Together, they have authored seven papers. The most recent abstract addressed a brand new gene — the ACP-1, whose presence signifies risk for metastases in melanoma, but can also be applied to other cancers, like colon, breast, prostate, and pancreas to predict cancer aggressiveness and tailor the therapy appropriately.
With a personal interest and passion in the early detection and treatment of melanoma, Dr. Rubakovic continues to pursue the newest clinical skills in detection of melanoma. She completed a master’s program in skin cancer from The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia — considered the epicenter of skin cancer research — and also received a diploma in advanced dermoscopy from the University of Graz, Austria. “I want to better serve my patients and community by being able to establish early detection of this deadly, but very treatable cancer,” says Dr. Rubakovic.