Improving the generation and selection of virtual populations in quantitative systems pharmacology models

Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2018 Nov:139:15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jun 15.


Quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) models aim to describe mechanistically the pathophysiology of disease and predict the effects of therapies on that disease. For most drug development applications, it is important to predict not only the mean response to an intervention but also the distribution of responses, due to inter-patient variability. Given the necessary complexity of QSP models, and the sparsity of relevant human data, the parameters of QSP models are often not well determined. One approach to overcome these limitations is to develop alternative virtual patients (VPs) and virtual populations (Vpops), which allow for the exploration of parametric uncertainty and reproduce inter-patient variability in response to perturbation. Here we evaluated approaches to improve the efficiency of generating Vpops. We aimed to generate Vpops without sacrificing diversity of the VPs' pathophysiologies and phenotypes. To do this, we built upon a previously published approach (Allen et al., 2016) by (a) incorporating alternative optimization algorithms (genetic algorithm and Metropolis-Hastings) or alternatively (b) augmenting the optimized objective function. Each method improved the baseline algorithm by requiring significantly fewer plausible patients (precursors to VPs) to create a reasonable Vpop.

Keywords: Acceptance rejection sampling; Genetic algorithm; Global optimization; Mathematical modeling; Metropolis-Hastings; Ordinary differential equations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pharmacology / methods*
  • Systems Biology / methods*
  • Uncertainty
  • User-Computer Interface*