Chase Christenson

My research project is focused on mathematically modeling the spatial and temporal distribution of therapeutic radionuclides for recurrent glioblastoma and predicting the tumor’s eventual response to this therapy. Glioblastoma is a devastating disease with remarkably low survival rates which have improved very little in many years; thus, we desperately need new approaches to treating this tumor type. My project is focused on the radionuclide Rhenium-186, which is encapsulated within nanoliposome to serve as a theranostic (186RNL) administered via convection enhanced delivery. Treatment with 186RNL has the potential to provide significantly larger effective doses to a tumor than external beam radiation, while decreasing toxicity to the surrounding, healthy tissues. We propose that a tumor’s response to therapy can be modeled by parameters such as cellularity and perfusion (which can be estimated from patient-specific MRI data), as well as the distribution and properties of the administered radionuclide (which can be estimated from patient-specific SPECT data) during treatment. By solving this problem, we can provide tools to help oncologists design optimized treatment and, therefore optimize outcomes on an individual patient basis.