Cancer is a disease involving abnormal growth of cells. Its growth dynamics is perplexing. Mathematical modeling is a way to shed light on this progress and its medical treatments. This dissertation is to study cancer invasion in time and space using a mathematical approach. Chapter 1 presents a detailed review of literature on cancer modeling.
Chapter 2 focuses sorely on time where the escape of a generic cancer out of immune control is described by stochastic delayed differential equations (SDDEs). Without time delay and noise, this system demonstrates bistability. The effects of response time of the immune system and stochasticity in the tumor proliferation rate are studied by including delay and noise in the model. Stability, persistence and extinction of the tumor are analyzed. The result shows that both time delay and noise can induce the transition from low tumor burden equilibrium to high tumor equilibrium. The aforementioned work has been published (Han et al., 2019b).
In Chapter 3, Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is studied using a partial differential equation (PDE) model. GBM is an aggressive brain cancer with a grim prognosis. A mathematical model of GBM growth with explicit motility, birth, and death processes is proposed. A novel method is developed to approximate key characteristics of the wave profile, which can be compared with MRI data. Several test cases of MRI data of GBM patients are used to yield personalized parameterizations of the model. The aforementioned work has been published (Han et al., 2019a).
Chapter 4 presents an innovative way of forecasting spatial cancer invasion. Most mathematical models, including the ones described in previous chapters, are formulated based on strong assumptions, which are hard, if not impossible, to verify due to complexity of biological processes and lack of quality data. Instead, a nonparametric forecasting method using Gaussian processes is proposed. By exploiting the local nature of the spatio-temporal process, sparse (in terms of time) data is sufficient for forecasting. Desirable properties of Gaussian processes facilitate selection of the size of the local neighborhood and computationally efficient propagation of uncertainty. The method is tested on synthetic data and demonstrates promising results.