What can mathematics tell us about the treatment of cancer? In this talk I will
present some of the work that I have done in the modeling of tumor growth and
treatment over the last ten years.
Cancer is a myriad of individual diseases, with the common feature that an
individual's own cells have become malignant. Thus, the treatment of cancer
poses great challenges, since an attack must be mounted against cells that are
nearly identical to normal cells. Mathematical models that describe tumor growth
in tissue, the immune response, and the administration of different therapies
can suggest treatment strategies that optimize treatment efficacy and minimize
negative side-effects. However, the inherent complexity of the immune system and
the spatial heterogeneity of human tissue gives rise to mathematical models that
pose unique challenges for the mathematician. In this talk I will give a few
examples of how doctors, immunologists, and mathematicians can work together to
understand the development of the disease and to design effective treatments.
This talk is intended for a general audience: no knowledge of biology or
advanced mathematics will be assumed.