UCI News

Using mathematics to predict cancer growth

John Lowengrub, UC Irvine mathematics professor and chair, knows the devastating effects of cancer. His aunt died 10 years ago…

June 4, 2009

John Lowengrub, UC Irvine mathematics professor and chair, knows the devastating effects of cancer. His aunt died 10 years ago of ovarian cancer, and several members of his wife’s family have battled and recovered from the disease. Applying his academic skills to the question of how cancer spreads, Lowengrub began building mathematical computer models to predict tumor growth and evaluate therapy options. The goal: maximize treatment effectiveness and minimize patient suffering. In May, Lowengrub published a study in the journal Cancer Research showing that cancer growth is not as erratic as previously thought. A computer simulation (pictured) predicts the growth of a cancerous tumor.