Math and medicine might cure cancer

Aug. 5, 2008 at 2:16 PM
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COLLEGE PARK, Md., Aug. 5 (UPI) -- U.S.-led scientists say they've used math and medicine to demonstrate how the two disciplines, when combined, might lead to a cure for cancer.

University of Maryland Associate Professor of mathematics Doron Levy, Stanford Medical School Associate Professor Dr. Peter Lee and Peter Kim of the Ecole Superieure d'Electricite in France said they have created a mathematical model that predicts anti-leukemia immune response in chronic myelogenous leukemia patients using the drug imatinib.

"By combining novel biological data and mathematical modeling, we found rules for designing adaptive treatments for each specific patient," said Levy, who led the study. "Give me a thousand patients and, with this mathematical model, I can give you a thousand different customized treatment plans."

Researchers previously used equations in attempts to understand how leukemia develops and evolves. The new research, said Levy, differs in that it took into account the patient's natural immune response in conjunction with the effects of imatinib.

"The mathematical model helps us understand the mechanisms that control the disease and show how to use this knowledge to our advantage," Levy said.

The research appeared in the June 20 issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology.

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