Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.



Committee Chair

Frieboes, Hermann Bueno

Author's Keywords

Pancreatic cancer; Mathematical model; Tumor modeling


Pancreas--Cancer--Mathematical models; Cancer--Research--Statistical methods; Tumors--Growth--Mathematical models


Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is identified by its rapid, invasive progression with a profound resistance to treatments such as chemotherapy. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information on how to effectively inhibit and control the rapid growth of pancreatic tumors, as well as limited information for diagnostics. With current methods, pancreatic cancer will continue to prevail as a leading cause of cancer death. We propose to study the complexity of pancreatic tumors with a systematic and analytical approach. Cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue caused by uncontrolled cell division. Observing the growth of these cells would prove to have a good basis to monitor the growth of a tumor. Here we create a 3-D simulation of tumor growth through mathematical modeling, using data from pancreatic cells grown in vitro. Using 3-D models will help to understand pancreatic tumors at cellular and molecular levels. The project aims to observe realistic growth of the tumor, accomplished from growing tumor cells on a monolayer in order to find parameters for our 3D mathematical model. This method will prove more beneficial than testing only on a monolayer cell line. Although cell death and the toxicity of drug dosage can be tested using a cell monolayer alone, it does not meet the demands of testing drug delivery in a realistic tumor environment that the mathematical model would provide. The monolayer lacks the dimensions that the drug would have to travel if it were delivered to a real in vivo tumor. A possible continuation of this project in the future could be to utilize the mathematical based approach to predict optimal therapy for the pancreatic tumor in order to develop models that can better test patient care for tumors. Computer modeling, another stepping stone through mathematical modeling, will possibly lead to testing the toxic effects of drugs on a 3-D model through computer modeling will aid in understanding the delivery of drugs throughout the tumor in vivo.