The next time you kid complains that his mathematics homework won't help him in real life, you can tell him that the subject could help cure blood cancer.
A new study has shown that maths and medicine could help cure patients suffering from CML or chronic myelogenous leukaemia with an optimally-timed cancer vaccine, where the timing is determined based on their own immune response.
Researchers have described their success in creating a mathematical model which predicts that anti-leukaemia immune response in CML patients using the drug imatinib can actually be stimulated in a way to provide a cure for the disease.
"By combining novel biological data and mathematical modelling, we found rules for designing adaptive treatments for each specific patient.
"Give me a thousand patients and with this model, I can give you a thousand different customised treatment plans," the 'PLoS Computational Biology' journal quoted lead author Doron Levy of Maryland University as saying.
In their study, the researchers took into account the patient's natural immune response in conjunction with effects of imatinib, a drug that has been successful in putting CML patients into remission.
They wanted to see if they can develop a mathematical model, or set of rules, that increases chances for long-term remission in individual patients.