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Stochastic modeling of drug treatment in cancer

Mathematical Biology

Speaker: Natalia Komarova, UC Irvine
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Mon, Apr 12 2010, 3:10PM

While targeted therapy is yielding promising results in the treatment of specific cancers, drug resistance poses a problem. I will present a new mathematical framework which can be used to study the principles underlying the emergence and prevention of resistance in cancers, treated with targeted small molecule drugs. I will consider a stochastic dynamical system which is based on measurable parameters, such as the rate at which resistant mutants are generated, and the turnover rate of tumor cells (the turnover rate is the ratio of the natural death rate and the replication rate of cancer cells in the absence of treatment). It turns out that resistance against nontoxic small molecule inhibitors arises mainly before the start of treatment, rather than in the course of therapy. Questions of treatment optimization in the context of different scenarios, including cross-resistance, will be addressed.