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Henry Seely White Lecture, Suzanne Weeks, WPI

Date: Thursday, March 28, 2019

Time: 3pm

Location: Rockefeller Hall 300

Title:  "A Multi-compartment Mathematical Model of Cancer Stem Cell Driven Solid Tumor Growth Dynamics"

The Cancer Stem Cell Hypothesis says that there are two types of cancer cells, stem and non-stem, and that the stem cells are those which initiate and drive tumor growth and have unlimited proliferation capacity. Cancer stem cells can give rise to mortal non-stem cancer cells with unknown but limited proliferation potential. We use a system of ordinary differential equations to conduct mathematical and numerical investigations of the dynamics of the interactions of these two populations. First, we build linear multi-compartment ODE models and found their analytic and steady-state solutions and performed sensitivity analyses. The sizes of the stem and non-stem populations were compared to see the effect of accounting for generational age. A two-compartment model capturing the multi-component results was also built. Next, a nonlinear model took into account competition for resources by using proliferation rates that decline as the cell population rises.  Some of this work was done as part of the WPI REU Program in Industrial Mathematics and Statistics which was co-funded by the ASSURE program of the Department of Defense in partnership with the National Science Foundation REU Site program under Award DMS-1004795.