Much of this research is in collaboration with The Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford
Carcinogenesis is a complex and multistep process. As a result cancer
modelling has become an expansive research area with plenty of scope for
development. Tumours are thought to arise through genetic mutations and
somatic evolution. The large number of possible mutations and permutations
mean that it is extremely difficult to characterise a typical tumour cell.
A great deal of spatial heterogeneity exists depending on the part of the
body the tumour develops and even within a single tumour due to the
surrounding or underlying vasculature. As well as spatial heterogeneity,
temporal heterogeneity must be taken into account. Tumours undergo various
stages of tumourigenesis, becoming increasingly more aggressive
and invasive. The list of complicating factors goes on.
To date, tumour models have considered a small subset of processes acting
at a specific time during the tumours progression. However, advances are
being made towards integrating models at different time and spatial
Some current projects in the area of tumour growth focus on
- cancer cell metabolism and resulting acidification of the tumour
- hypoxia induced gene expression via the HIF-1 transcription factor.
More recent work is concerned with the accurate numerical solution of the equations that govern the growth of a three-dimensional tumour in tissue
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