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Math Could Aid in Curing Cancer

Photo of a researcher in a lab.

Computers are common in hospitals, but can math cure cancer? In a recent study, researchers combined math and medicine to show that patients may be cured of leukemia with an optimally timed (mathematically derived) cancer vaccine.

Credit: © 2008 Jupiter Images Corporation


Lisa-Joy Zgorski of the National Science Foundation interviews mathematician Doron Levy of the University of Maryland on the application of mathematics in treating leukemia. Levy, along with Peter P. Lee, Stanford Medical School physician and associate professor of medicine (hematology) and Peter S. Kim, École Supérieure d'Électricité (Gif-sur-Yvette, France), describe their success in creating a mathematical model which predicts anti-leukemia immune response in CML patients using the drug imatinib in a way that might provide a cure for the disease. Their findings are detailsed in the June 20 edition of the journal PLoS Computational Biology.

Credit: University of Maryland, College Park/National Science Foundation