Researchers and students from St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center and Arizona State University's Math Department are applying weather forecast technology to model and track the growth patterns of brain tumors.
The technology allows researchers to study various growth patterns of brain tumors and apply treatment parameters to determine the best option for patients. It will forecast how a patient's tumor may grow with different treatment scenarios, help physicians make a much more informed prognosis and be used as a patient consulting tool.
The research study began when Barrow and ASU researchers Mark Preul, Yang Kuang and Eric Kostelich used data from a collection of normal brain images to create a life-like recreation of the brain. They positioned a virtual tumor in the brain image and applied intricate math formulas used in weather forecast technology to predict how the tumor would grow.
Once the virtual tumor began to grow, the researchers determined a way to resect part of the tumor and gave it the effects of radiation and chemotherapy to see how the tumor would respond. A patient study was eventually used to compare the tumor growth and outcome between the patient and virtual model. They closely matched.
"This study has resulted in the most accurate and life-like recreation of the growth of malignant brain tumors," says Mark Preul, MD, Newsome Chair of Neurosurgery Research. "The technology used in the study could pave the way for better treatment plans enabling a greater outcome for patients,"
The study will be published in Cell Proliferation and is the basis for a National Science Foundation grant submission. The Barrow Neurological Foundation funded the initial study.