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Bayesian Dose-Response Modeling in Sparse Data

  • Author(s): Kim, Steven;
  • Advisor(s): Gillen, Daniel;
  • et al.

This book discusses Bayesian dose-response modeling in small samples applied to two different settings. The first setting is early phase clinical trials, and the second setting is toxicology studies in cancer risk assessment. In early phase clinical trials, experimental units are humans who are actual patients. Prior to a clinical trial, opinions from multiple subject area experts are generally more informative than the opinion of a single expert, but we may face a dilemma when they have disagreeing prior opinions. In this regard, we consider compromising the disagreement and compare two different approaches for making a decision. In addition to combining multiple opinions, we also address balancing two levels of ethics in early phase clinical trials. The first level is individual-level ethics which reflects the perspective of trial participants. The second level is population-level ethics which reflects the perspective of future patients. We extensively compare two existing statistical methods which focus on each perspective and propose a new method which balances the two conflicting perspectives. In toxicology studies, experimental units are living animals. Here we focus on a potential non-monotonic dose-response relationship which is known as hormesis. Briefly, hormesis is a phenomenon which can be characterized by a beneficial effect at low doses and a harmful effect at high doses. In cancer risk assessments, the estimation of a parameter, which is known as a benchmark dose, can be highly sensitive to a class of assumptions, monotonicity or hormesis. In this regard, we propose a robust approach which considers both monotonicity and hormesis as a possibility. In addition, We discuss statistical hypothesis testing for hormesis and consider various experimental designs for detecting hormesis based on Bayesian decision theory. Past experiments have not been optimally designed for testing for hormesis, and some Bayesian optimal designs may not be optimal under a wrong parametric assumption. In this regard, we consider a robust experimental design which does not require any parametric assumption.

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