Towards Cancer Hybrid Automata

Loes Olde Loohuis, Andreas Witzel, Bud Mishra

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This paper introduces Cancer Hybrid Automata (CHAs), a formalism to model the progression of cancers through discrete phenotypes. The classification of cancer progression using discrete states like stages and hallmarks has become common in the biology literature, but primarily as an organizing principle, and not as an executable formalism. The precise computational model developed here aims to exploit this untapped potential, namely, through automatic verification of progression models (e.g., consistency, causal connections, etc.), classification of unreachable or unstable states and computer-generated (individualized or universal) therapy plans. The paper builds on a phenomenological approach, and as such does not need to assume a model for the biochemistry of the underlying natural progression. Rather, it abstractly models transition timings between states as well as the effects of drugs and clinical tests, and thus allows formalization of temporal statements about the progression as well as notions of timed therapies. The model proposed here is ultimately based on hybrid automata, and we show how existing controller synthesis algorithms can be generalized to CHA models, so that therapies can be generated automatically. Throughout this paper we use cancer hallmarks to represent the discrete states through which cancer progresses, but other notions of discretely or continuously varying state formalisms could also be used to derive similar therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalElectronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science, EPTCS
StatePublished - Aug 15 2012
Event1st International Workshop on Hybrid Systems and Biology, HSB 2012 - Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Duration: Sep 3 2012 → …

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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