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J Theor Biol. 2007 Jul 7;247(1):186-204. Epub 2007 Mar 12.

An immersed boundary framework for modelling the growth of individual cells: an application to the early tumour development.

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  • 1Division of Mathematics, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, Scotland, UK.


A biomechanical approach in modelling the growth and division of a single fully deformable cell by using an immersed boundary method with distributed sources is presented, and its application to model the early tumour development is discussed. This mathematical technique couples a continuous description of a viscous incompressible cytoplasm with the dynamics of separate elastic cells, containing their own point nuclei, elastic plasma membranes with membrane receptors, and individually regulated cell processes. This model enables one to focus on the biomechanical properties of individual cells and on communication between cells and their microenvironment, simultaneously allowing for the formation of clusters or sheets of cells that act together as one complex tissue. Several examples of early tumours growing in various geometrical configurations and with distinct conditions of their initiation and progression are also presented to show the strength of our approach in modelling different topologies of the growing tissues in distinct biochemical conditions of the surrounding media.

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