Systems Engineering Seminar

Rocket Science Methods for Reverse Engineering the Human Immuno-control System's Battle with Cancer

Presented by:
Harold P. Frisch, NASA/GSFC Emeritus, Mayo Clinic Consultant

Tuesday May 1, 2012, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium


Rocket Science Methods for Reverse Engineering the Human Immuno-control System's Battle with Cancer

Mr. Frisch spent his entire 45-year career with NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Upon retirement he was award the position of NASA/GSFC Emeritus. During this time he has acted as an interface between the multi-disciplinary design and analysis research community and the NASA project application community. As new analysis support methods emerged there was a need to transition the best computational algorithms into the NASA project support application community. In almost all cases this involved the need to extend and adapt associated theory to satisfy project constraints and user desires. The subject domains spanned were: numerical analysis, finite element structural analysis, feedback control and stability analysis, thermal analysis, control-structure-thermal interaction analysis, multi-rigid and flexible body dynamics analysis, multi-disciplinary integrated analysis, concurrent engineering, systems engineering, and some brief wanderings into the worlds of biomimetics, biomechanics and human performance.

During the last 10 years at NASA and for over 3 years into retirement, efforts have been focused on developing standards based methods for enabling the capabilities necessary for the long term data archival and the retrieval of complex engineering information associated with systems engineering. Mr. Frisch is the co-lead of the ISO 10303 AP233 Systems engineering STEP standards effort. Under his leadership the ISO 10303 AP233 Draft International Standard was created, submitted and published in 2011.

Throughout Mr. Frisch’s career he has worked closely with the NASA’s Small Business Innovative Research office. This has lead to many significant advances to the state of the art capabilities used by NASA and into business opportunities for colleagues inside and outside of the aerospace industry. In August 2009 he was approached by the Mayo Clinic to provide an aerospace modeling and analysis view of Immunology. This work has evolved into a full time effort with early insights providing new treatment insights that have already prolonged and saved lives of Mayo Clinic melanoma patients. This work is evolving into a computational software capability for studying the dynamics of Melanoma cancer, the immune system, clinical treatment data from cancer patients and how current clinical treatment can be improved.



Central to understanding how the Immune system detects and attacks cancer is the ability to comprehend the complex network of cause and effect relationships acting within the tumor microenvironment (TME). This situation is further complicated by the need to also understand both the positive and negative aspects of clinical treatment. To obtain clinically relevant understanding and insight, we sought to approach the problem by using accessible data (medical imaging, blood testing) and Immuno-expert knowledge to create an analysis capability that would reverse engineer observable data obtained from Mayo Clinic Melanoma patients. This presentation will provide an overview of progress made in applying aerospace analysis tools to gain understanding and insight. In short, many of our aerospace system feedback control analysis concepts apply; but, nearly never in ways that we instinctively expect. The lecture will provide an overview of the concepts being used along with the why and how rationale that is leading us to pathways of clinical relevance.



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