Mathematical models for the digital transition in neuro-oncology: In-silico design of a clinical trial for glioblastoma (ISGBM)

Gliomas are incurable primary brain tumors that arise from the glia, the cells that give mechanical and functional support to the neurons. Their highest grade, glioblastomas, are very aggressive and deathly. On the contrary, low grade gliomas are slowly growing, but they affect young patients and cause an important loss of years and substantial reduction in the quality of life. Both low and high grade gliomas are usually treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but the optimal way of using and combining these therapies is not well known. Maximizing the effect from the available therapies is an important task with consequences to the quality of life and survival of the patients.

Why Mathematics?

In this project we use mathematical models of tumor growth and therapy effect to look for alternative treatment protocols that optimize their outcome on glioma patients. Our main tool are mesoscopic computational models, as they allow an easy implementation of complex biological phenomena, but are flexible enough to enable fast simulations of whole tumors at realistic volumes. 

We will perform in silico clinical trials to study modifications of the treatment dosage and protocols with the intention of lengthen the survival and reducing the toxicity. ISGBM project is carried out in close collaboration with experimental biologists and medical doctors, who will provide key data and clinical images to feed our models and will later on translate the conclusions of the computational results to experiments in mice to test the results in vivo.

The Team

The ISGMB project is being carried out by an interdisciplinary group of researchers. MOLAB contributes applied mathematicians, engineers and biotechnologists from University of Castilla-La Mancha and Universidad of Cádiz responsible for the mathematical modelling and the coordination. Biologists from the neuro-oncology division of the Carlos III Health Institute will perform in vivo experiments on animal models. Moreover, medical doctors from five different hospitals collaborate in setting the treatment restrictions related to toxicity and other implications and help in the design of a clinical trial that can be readily implemented.


Low and high grade gliomas have not benefited from therapy improvements since the introduction of the Stupp protocol almost twenty years ago. 

This project has the mission of finding enhanced protocols for available therapeutic options that result in a clinical benefit for the patients. The final goal is to motivate the realization of a clinical trial that results in a real clinical translation. We also plan to release a public database of high-resolution clinical images of glioblastoma collected by our collaborators.

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