Modelling cancer has a long history, but only recently researchers began to look at the genetic composition of solid tumours. This is in part motivated by the perceived relationship between genetic heterogeneity of a tumour and the likelihood that chemotherapy will fail to eradicate it. More heterogeneous tumours will harbour more genetic mutations, some of them making cells resistant to treatment. Recently, a simple three-dimensional lattice model  demonstrated that heterogeneity is affected by three processes: replication and death of cells, and cellular migration.
The aim of this project will be to develop a more realistic, physics-based, off-lattice model, and use it to investigate how the risk of chemotherapy failure could be minimized. Besides genetic heterogeneity of cancer cells, the model will have to account for a heterogeneous distribution of the chemotherapeutic agent - it has been shown that drug gradients play a major role in speeding
up the evolution of resistance .
The project will involve collaboration with Edinburgh researchers (Tibor Antal) as well as overseas groups led by Martin Nowak (Harvard), and Bert Vogelstein (Howard Hughes Medical Institute).
 B. Waclaw, I. Bozic, M.E. Pittman, R.H. Hruban, B. Vogelstein, M.A. Nowak, Nature 525 (7568), 261-264 (2015).
 P. Greulich, B. Waclaw, and R. Allen., Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 088101 (2012).
- Dr Bartlomiej Waclaw (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
The project supervisor welcomes informal enquiries about this project.
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