Chalmers Conferences, 9th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology

Mathematical modelling of the dynamics of multiple myeloma cell accumulation
Marcel Mohr

Last modified: 2014-03-31


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a rarely curable malignant disease of bone marrow plasma cells. To understand the complex processes impacting on accumulation of MM cells and their influence on pathogenesis, we make use of mathematical models. These models describe the dynamics of healthy and malignant plasma cells, based on growth processes, cell-cell and cell-niche interactions.

The models are based on the current understanding of the disease. Pathogenesis of MM involves factors intrinsic to the tumour cells as well as factors provided by the bone marrow niche. Although a niche is physically restricted, it may be stretched due to a high cell accumulation, thus providing additional homing space for the cells. Moreover, MM cells may become independent of the niche by either producing their own survival factors or recruiting their own specialised niche. We consequently postulate that the grade of dependence of a MM cell on the niche plays a crucial role within the cell dynamics. Transition into the niche depends on its capacity. To account for MM cell's ability to gain independence of the niche, we use structured population equations with the structure variable representing the grade of niche dependence. We assume that the diversity within the structure variable is generated by proliferation of MM cells.

We present primary results of model simulations and analysis and discuss them in context of biological observations.

The models are being developed in collaboration with Dirk Hose and Anja Seckinger (Multiple Myeloma Section, Heidelberg University Clinic) and Anna Marciniak-Czochra (Institute of Applied Mathematics, University of Heidelberg).