Using virtual clinical trials to improve our understanding of diseases

Mathematical and computational techniques can improve our understanding of diseases. In this talk, I’ll present ways in which data from cancer patients can be combined with mathematical modelling and used to improve cancer treatments.
Given the variability in individual responses to cancer treatments, agent-based modelling has been a useful technique for accurately capturing cellular behaviours that may lead to stochasticity in patient outcomes. Using a hybrid agent-based model and partial differential equation system, we developed a model for brain cancer (glioblastoma) growth informed by ex-vivo patient samples. Extending the model to capture patient treatment with an oncolytic virus rQNestin, we used our model to propose reasons for treatment failure, which was later confirmed with further patient samples. More recently, we extended this model to investigate the effectiveness of combination treatments (chemotherapy, virotherapy and immunotherapy) informed by individual patient imaging mass cytometry.
This talk hopes to provide examples of ways mathematical and computational modelling can be used to run “virtual” clinical trials with the goal of obtaining more effective treatments for diseases.