The mathematician versus the malignancy

An engaging story about using mathematical models to improve chemotherapy.

 By Elie Dolgin

Nature Medicine 20, 460–463 (2014) doi:10.1038/nm0514-460 (open access)

The way in which people receive cancer therapy is pretty much the same as it’s been for decades: researchers determine the highest dose of a drug or treatment that does not cause unacceptable side effects; oncologists then administer that dose to patients on a standard timetable—usually daily tablets for oral chemotherapeutics and other pill-based regimens, infusions on a weekly schedule for injectable drugs and Monday-through-Friday treatments for radiation therapy.
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Almost all current cancer therapies are given this way. And although the approach has undoubtedly extended countless patients’ lives, given that more than $80 billion is spent on cancer care in the US alone, it’s worth asking: are these schedules really yielding the best results for patients? And could alternative timetables produce better outcomes?

Franziska Michor hopes to answer these questions. Read more here