Modelling and Identification of Cancerous Pancreatic Islets Using EIT Technology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Engineering


Totally successful treatment of cancer requires that every cancerous cell be destroyed, usually by chemotherapy or by radiation. Since cancer cells multiply much more rapidly than healthy cells, a single surviving cancerous cell can be enough to initiate a new cancer. This accounts for much of the difficulty of treating patients with cancer.The group at Warwick has developed methods of inducing cancer in mice. On treating the mice in a certain way, nearly all of them recover totally from this induced cancer, but some tumours resist treatment. The purpose of our study is to make it easy to study these mouse tumours. There is good reason to believe that they reflect accurately the properties of certain human tumours that are resistant to treatment.We want to study these tumours at an early stage, to understand why they resist treatment. This is very difficult, even in a mouse, because the tumours are rare. Looking for the tumour is like looking for a needle in a haystack.The idea here is to use a technique that has been developed for other purposes (human breast cancer; control of certain industrial processes) to find the needle: in fact the technique has something in common with the finding of rare treasure, using metal detectors. It involves making measurements of the electrical properties of the mouse pancreas: in our case, our procedure limits the presence of tumours to the pancreas, until the cancer has progressed considerably, when it can spread around the body.One advantage of this technique is that it is non-invasive---that is, the tissue is not affected as in more conventional attempts to locate cancers. For example X-ray treatment often destroys healthy cells, and investigative surgery often provides a site for hospital infections. In the context of cell-biology, the results of other experiments are not disturbed by the electrical impedance measurements. Another advantage is that the measurements can take seconds instead of days to carry out.In the proposed research only in vitro experiments will be conducted. This will however lay down a sound basis for further development regarding in vivo cases. Obviously, it will be possible to use many fewer mice in the research when the observation/detection is done with alive mouse. That will also enable us to study more closely and accurately on the developing and curing processes of pancreatic cancer.In the project, new mathematical modelling and measurement techniques, which are important parts of control system research, need to be researched and algorithms to be developed. The research will help human being obtain in-depth knowledge of cell/tissue's dynamic behaviour (that is, their responses under external excitement signals such as electrical current), which will be very useful in biology and medical sciences research.


10 25 50