Towards a Colonic Crypt Model with a Realistic, Deformable Geometry

1 June 2010
Sara-Jane Dunn

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death worldwide, demanding a response from scientists and clinicians to understand its aetiology and develop effective treatment. CRC is thought to originate via genetic alterations that cause disruption to the cellular dynamics of the crypts of Lieberkűhn, test-tube shaped glands located in both the small and large intestine, which are lined with a monolayer of epithelial cells. It is believed that during colorectal carcinogenesis, dysplastic crypts accumulate mutations that destabilise cell-cell contacts, resulting in crypt buckling and fission. Once weakened, the corrupted structure allows mutated cells to migrate to neighbouring crypts, to break through to the underlying tissue and so aid the growth and malignancy of a tumour. To provide further insight into the tissue-level effects of these genetic mutations, a multi-scale model of the crypt with a realistic, deformable geometry is required. This talk concerns the progress and development of such a model, and its usefulness as a predictive tool to further the understanding of interactions across spatial scales within the context of colorectal cancer.

  • Junior Applied Mathematics Seminar