Friday, February 15, 2013

Using Weather Math to Determine GBM Growth

Here’s a positive step forward, according to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, “A Northwestern University professor has come up with a mathematical model that she says accurately predicts the growth of the most aggressive and common type of brain tumor, a breakthrough she says will help doctors combat the tumor more effectively.”

In her article, writer Jessica Tobacman reports that “Professor Kristin Swanson, a neurologist at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, and her research team came up with the model to predict the growth of glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor.”

Is this important? Well, according to Swanson, "We are thrilled. This is a new tool. By generating a prediction of the growth of the tumor, it tells you the growth curve."

How did they do it? Tobacman writes that “Swanson and her colleagues used mathematical models on computers to run simulations about the growth of a glioblastoma tumor without treatment. The models are similar to those used by meteorologists to track the growth and movement of storms.”

So why is this mathematical modeling a breakthrough? Swanson says that “Learning how fast a patient's glioblastoma is growing helps doctors understand how to fight it, she said. Currently, the only option is a one-size-fits-all approach to treating tumors, but not all tumors are the same.”

My take on this? It gives a whole new meaning to the phase “brainstorming.”

Here’s a link to the entire Chicago Tribune article:,0,7841206.story

And here’s a link to the research study abstract entitled "Discriminating Survival Outcomes in Patients with Glioblastoma Using a Simulation-Based, Patient-Specific Response Metric," which was published in the PLOS ONE journal

Image credit: <a href=''>balefire9 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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