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NIMBioS Investigative Workshop

Solid Tumor Modeling

Group photo.

Topic: Future Directions in Biophysically Accurate, Fully Three-Dimensional Solid Tumor Modeling: Biological, Computational and Clinical Challenges

Meeting dates: January 19-21, 2011

Vittorio Cristini (Univ. of Texas, School of Information and Health Sciences, Houston)
John Lowengrub (Mathematics Dept., Univ. of California, Irvine)
Kasia Rejniak (Moffitt Cancer Center, Integrated Mathematical Oncology)
Steven M. Wise (Mathematics Dept., Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Objectives: The principal aim of this Investigative Workshop was to discuss current achievements and challenges in modeling solid tumors in the human body, and to identify areas in modeling, computing, laboratory experimentation, and clinical diagnosis that should be pursued to improve our understanding of tumor development and ultimately treatment. The focus was on modeling tumor level cancer progression. However, all pertinent systems that influence such growth were open for discussion and analysis, including ongoing genetic mutation and genetic feedback, stem cells, angiogenesis and vascular dynamics, lymph system interaction, metastasis, mechanical properties of and interaction with host tissue, and immune system response. Specifically, the goals were to identify the relative advantages of certain models (or modeling principles) in specific host tissue environments; the current state-of-the-art in modeling, from the points of view of biophysical relevance, mathematical suitability, and computational and technical advances; the perceived future directions and important challenges in next-generation tumor models; and the near-term feasibility of modeling in a clinical, patient-specific setting. Topics of discussion included hybrid and multi-scale modeling, multiphase modeling, parameter estimation and relevant experimental and clinical data collection, and high-performance computing and visualization.

A Virtual Poster Session was held in conjunction with this workshop. This session allowed participants to share their research with workshop attendees and with those visiting the workshop web site. Posters were submitted by participants of the workshop as well as by others doing research in the area of tumor modeling. The virtual poster session was designed to allow participation by a larger group than we were able to accommodate in our physical space and to facilitate communication among those working in this important field. Posters are displayed online at this site.

Evaluation report (PDF)

Adenocarcinoma photo. Summary Report. With continuing improvements in both computational technology and imaging techniques, mathematical cancer modeling is converging on true quantitative integration of laboratory experiments and clinical data with simulations. The NIMBioS Investigative Workshop Solid Tumor Modeling: Biological, Computational and Clinical Challenges brought together a diverse group of researchers, including mathematical and computational modelers, bioengineers, cancer biologists and clinicians, with the purpose to evaluate the current state of- the-art in integrative tumor modeling, identify required biological and clinical parameters, and determine how to translate the modeling results in order to further improve cancer prevention and treatment. Several experts in the field of cancer biology and cancer modeling made 30-minute presentations. These were followed by group discussion sessions. Certain consensus recommendations were made as a result of the discussions. These include identifying the needs of the community at large, such as quantitative data and image repositories; model sharing platforms; and standardization of clinical, biological and modeling vocabularies. Future directions were identified in which computational modeling could contribute to cancer research, including understanding tumor development in the context of normal biology and tissue homeostasis, investigating plasticity and evolution of stem cells and/or cancer stem cells, and exploring multi-dimensional complexity of the tumor microenvironment.



Bravo R, Axelrod DE. 2014. VirtualCryptModel0201413G.nlogo. NetLogo Community Models Repository.


Axelrod DE. 15-19 September 2014. Stem Cell Dynamics in the Microenvironment of Normal Colon Crypts, and the Initiation, Progression and Therapy of Colon Cancer. Invited Plenary Talk. Ecology and Evolution of Cancer Workshop, Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.‚Äč

Software, Data, Models, etc.

Bravo R, Axelrod DE. 2014. VirtualCryptModel020413G: Agent-Based computational model of the colon crypt: Development of a virtual crypt for in-silico experiments. NetLogo Community Models Repository. [Online]

NIMBioS Investigative Workshops focus on broad topics or a set of related topics, summarizing/synthesizing the state of the art and identifying future directions. Workshops have up to 35 participants. Organizers and key invited researchers make up half the participants; the remaining participants are filled through open application from the scientific community. Open applicants selected to attend are notified by NIMBioS within two weeks of the application deadline. Investigative Workshops have the potential for leading to one or more future Working Groups. Individuals with a strong interest in the topic, including post-docs and graduate students, are encouraged to apply. If needed, NIMBioS can provide support (travel, meals, lodging) for Workshop attendees, whether from a non-profit or for-profit organization.

A goal of NIMBioS is to enhance the cadre of researchers capable of interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all its activities. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. Questions regarding diversity issues should be directed to You can read more about our Diversity Plan on our NIMBioS Policies web page. The NIMBioS building is fully handicapped accessible.

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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