3 years ago

Evaluating optimal therapy robustness by virtual expansion of a sample population, with a case study in cancer immunotherapy [Applied Mathematics]

Evaluating optimal therapy robustness by virtual expansion of a sample population, with a case study in cancer immunotherapy [Applied Mathematics]
Michael F. Ochs, Eduardo D. Sontag, Jana L. Gevertz, Syndi Barish

Cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease, exhibiting spatial and temporal variations that pose challenges for designing robust therapies. Here, we propose the VEPART (Virtual Expansion of Populations for Analyzing Robustness of Therapies) technique as a platform that integrates experimental data, mathematical modeling, and statistical analyses for identifying robust optimal treatment protocols. VEPART begins with time course experimental data for a sample population, and a mathematical model fit to aggregate data from that sample population. Using nonparametric statistics, the sample population is amplified and used to create a large number of virtual populations. At the final step of VEPART, robustness is assessed by identifying and analyzing the optimal therapy (perhaps restricted to a set of clinically realizable protocols) across each virtual population. As proof of concept, we have applied the VEPART method to study the robustness of treatment response in a mouse model of melanoma subject to treatment with immunostimulatory oncolytic viruses and dendritic cell vaccines. Our analysis (i) showed that every scheduling variant of the experimentally used treatment protocol is fragile (nonrobust) and (ii) discovered an alternative region of dosing space (lower oncolytic virus dose, higher dendritic cell dose) for which a robust optimal protocol exists.

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