Mathematical Modelling of Magnetically Targeted Stem Cell Delivery

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Mathematical Institute


This project aims to develop mathematical models of a magnetically targeted stem cell delivery technique. The development of an effective method of targeting delivery of stem cells to the site of an injury is a key challenge in regenerative medicine. However, production of stem cells is costly and current delivery methods rely on large doses in order to be effective. Improved targeting through use of an external magnetic field to direct delivery of magnetically-tagged stem cells to the injury site would allow for smaller doses to be used. Developing an accurate mathematical model can reduce required amount of laboratory testing and allow this therapy to reach clinical testing stages faster.

The objective of this project is to create a detailed model of this regenerative medicine therapy containing the dominant features of the underlying continuum mechanics, electrodynamics and mathematical biology. The accuracy of the mathematical model can be verified against real data provided by our collaborators at the University of Birmingham. We aim to use our model in a predicative context to address safety issues critical to the success of the therapy; during experimentation stem cells were found to form dangerous clumps in the body. We will address this issue by including intercellular magnetic and biological forces, through which we aim to determine parameter regimes which offer lower risks of clumps of stem cells leaving the injury site and travelling in the blood system. Furthermore we aim to provide fast and cheap parameter exploration in order to optimise the costly experimental process.

This project will extend existing models to the case of targeting stem cells implanted with magnetic nanoparticles: the majority of models to date consider the case of magnetic nanoparticle transport alone. Secondly we will address the safety issue of clumping not considered for magnetically tagged stem cells, through realistic microscopic magnetic modelling of stem cells implanted with nanoparticles. We will additionally improve biological realism of models by inclusion of additional features of the vessels such as the geometry, through curvature, and the microscale wall structure through inclusion of the porous layer lining the vessels, the glycocalyx.

This project falls into the EPSRC research areas of Mathematical Sciences and Healthcare Technologies, since we aim to optimise a regenerative medicine therapy through the use of mathematical modelling. We are working in collaboration with Prof Alicia El Haj and Dr Hareklea Markides at the University of Birmingham who carry out this therapy in vitro and in vivo. This collaboration allows us to address questions which are relevant and important to the regenerative medicine community.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513295/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2100104 Studentship EP/R513295/1 01/10/2018 31/03/2022 Edwina Yeo