3D model of tumours created to simulate drug delivery

Service Engineering

Researchers at UCL have designed a new technique called REANIMATE (REAlistic Numerical Image-based Modelling of biologicAl Tissue substratEs) to interact with highly detailed 3D virtual models of individual cancerous tumours, enabling scientists to study the transport of blood, biological fluids and drugs, and their complex interactions with tissue. This has allowed the scientists to have a greater understanding of how individual tumours react to specific treatments, and to simulate drug delivery in order to predict effectiveness.

Dr Simon Walker-Samuel, UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging, said: “These advances are a truly interdisciplinary effort and would not be possible without the combined input of physicists, mathematicians, cancer biologists, clinicians, imaging specialists and engineers. The new framework has a vast potential impact in helping to develop new cancer drugs and potentially providing a cost-effective way to test their efficacy before going to human trials. It advances the move towards truly personalised medicine, with the potential aim that one day clinicians might be able to predetermine the most effective therapeutic plan for each patient’s unique tumour makeup.“

“3D model of tumours created to simulate drug delivery.“

Dr Rebecca Shipley, Director, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, said: “REANIMATE uses optical imaging of surgically extracted tumour samples to generate virtual models of tumour structure at a microscopic scale. This is the basis for us to perform mathematical modelling, which also integrates quantitative MRI images taken before the tumour was extracted. This is a novel approach that provides an entirely new framework for therapy prediction in tumours and we are now developing ways of applying it to images taken from patient biopsies.”

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