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PLoS One. 2008 Jul 30;3(7):e2789. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002789.

A patient-specific in silico model of inflammation and healing tested in acute vocal fold injury.

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Department of Communication Science and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


The development of personalized medicine is a primary objective of the medical community and increasingly also of funding and registration agencies. Modeling is generally perceived as a key enabling tool to target this goal. Agent-Based Models (ABMs) have previously been used to simulate inflammation at various scales up to the whole-organism level. We extended this approach to the case of a novel, patient-specific ABM that we generated for vocal fold inflammation, with the ultimate goal of identifying individually optimized treatments. ABM simulations reproduced trajectories of inflammatory mediators in laryngeal secretions of individuals subjected to experimental phonotrauma up to 4 hrs post-injury, and predicted the levels of inflammatory mediators 24 hrs post-injury. Subject-specific simulations also predicted different outcomes from behavioral treatment regimens to which subjects had not been exposed. We propose that this translational application of computational modeling could be used to design patient-specific therapies for the larynx, and will serve as a paradigm for future extension to other clinical domains.

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