Physics Colloquium - Friday, February 17th, 2006, 4:00 P.M.
E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200
Patterns and Growth in Highly Malignant Brain Tumors
Glioblastoma Multiforme is a form of highly
malignant brain tumor. It is well known that one of
the reasons that GBM is resistant to treatment is
that it is highly invasive due to the large motility
of the tumor cells. Invading cells seem to cluster
to form secondary tumors, rendering the resection
of the primary tumor essentially futile. In this
talk I will present two ways in which we are
applying the methods of statistical physics to
tackle this biomedical problem:
1. We study the dynamics of invasion as a
problem in pattern formation. We show that
instabilities in growth patterns may be a clue to
subtle differences in proliferation rates for
invasive glioma cells.
2. We study the effects of cell-cell adhesion
with a view to understanding clustering of invading
cells. We show, theoretically and experimentally,
that glioma cells show phenomena which are entirely
analogous to phase separation and Ostwald ripening.