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Investigating Immune System Aging: System Dynamics and Agent Based Modelling

Grazziela Figueredo and Uwe Aickelin

The 2010 Summer Computer Simulation Conference (SCSC 10)
Ottawa, Canada, July 11-14, 2010


System dynamics and agent based simulation models can both be used to model and understand interactions of entities within a population. Our interest lies in the study of aging in the human immune system. We are trying to answer questions such as: How fit is the immune system given a certain age? Would an immune boost be of therapeutic value, e.g. to improve the effectiveness of a simultaneous vaccination. Understanding the processes of immune system aging and degradation may also help to reverse some of the damages caused and thus improve life expectancy. Therefore as a first step our research focuses on T cells, which are a major contributor to the immune system's functionality. Our modelling work presented here is concerned with understanding the suitability of the different types of simulation for the immune system aging problems. One of the main factors influencing immune system aging is the output rate of naive T cells. Of further interest is the number and phenotypical variety of these cells in an individual, which will be the case study focused on in this paper.

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