News

Study may provide cancer patients better diagnoses

Neil Johnson, Professor Department of Physics Courtesy Neil Johnson

Researchers at the University of Miami in conjunction with Heidelberg University in Germany have been able to formulate a mathematical model that can project the growth of a tumor.

This research, which was published in the online journal  Scientific Reports, will be able to assist in giving cancer patients more personalized diagnoses.

Tumors can take one of two approaches – they may lie dormant or spread throughout one’s body, known as metastasis.

Neil Johnson, a physics professor and  the director of the Complexity Research Group at UM’s College of Arts and Sciences, was the  co-principal investigator of the study.

Johnson and his team wanted to create a model that could better determine a tumor’s progress at both the primary level and during metastasis.

“The point is once you have a tumor and it begins to metastasize, it does it in similar ways,” Johnson said. “So we tried to find a description at that level.”

According to Johnson, mathematical models for tumor development typically fall in one of two extremes.

“They either use a mathematical model that treats it in a broad way like they do with [research determining]hurricanes. On the other extreme, you have people who create models that explain every single cell,” Johnson said. “Kind of like if you were to describe every single person at UM. In the end, you don’t need that much detail. So we hit that middle ground.”

Starting in 2007, the researchers at UM worked with the Sylvester Cancer Hospital experimenting on lab mice. According to graduate student Guannan Zhao, the study required a lot of programming skills, statistics and probability theory to come up with a model for the primary tumor.

The team applied the model for the primary tumors and used it for metastasizing tumors,  as well.  They found that the model fit for both cases.

Johnson also said that, not only does it work for a two-dimensional network like the primary tumor, but more complicated networks such as the lymph nodes.

“It becomes a very personalized view of where this is heading,” Johnson said.  “It is not what 100,000 others who have seemed to have something in a similar position have had happen to them.  It becomes given where it is on my body what might happen to that.”

August 28, 2011

Reporters

Jackie Salo


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Not only are the Hurricanes in the mix for at least five high-end running backs for the 2019 class, ...

After assembling one of the nation’s best groups of skill position players in the 2018 recruiting cl ...

Coach Kool, AKA Craig Kuligowski, is gone from the University of Miami, which is entirely uncool wit ...

He is considered among the finest defensive line coaches in the nation. And now, according to a writ ...

This is the time of year when every win or loss can make a difference in a team’s NCAA Tournament ch ...

The popular Christian minister preached to more people than any other evangelist in history. ...

A vigil on the University of Miami campus, organized by UM students who graduated from Marjory Stone ...

The latest speaker in the popular lecture series at the Rosenstiel School, Jeff Goodell, shared insi ...

At the University of Miami, the professor has the last word on whether students can use their laptop ...

Members of the University of Miami first response teams remind us of resources available and what to ...

Former Hurricane guard signs 10-day contract with Indiana Pacers. ...

For the second straight game, Miami's starting pitcher looked in dominant form through the firs ...

The University of Miami track and field team will compete against fellow conference members at the 2 ...

After capturing its opening series with Rutgers, No. 24 Miami continues a season-opening, seven-game ...

The latest edition of Quick Hits introduces middle blocker Bridget Wallenberger ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.