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Coupling Blood Flow and Vascular Growth in Three Dimensions

Authors: MaurĂ­cio Moreira Soares

Supervisors: Rui DM Travasso, Alexandre Diehl

MSc thesis, Universidade Federal de Pelotas (2015)

Abstract: Angiogenesis, or blood vessel growth, is a process which plays an important role in determining the degree of malignancy in tumours. In order to better understand this mechanism we propose a new computational model that couples angiogenesis and hydrodynamics of blood flow, using a hybrid phase-field model in 3D . For this, we use an image processing method to extract the medial lines of the vascular network, preserving the initial morphology and obtaining the equivalent hydraulic circuit. In this model blood flow regulates the deactivation of the growth factor sources due to effective oxygen and nutrient supply, instead of consider this regulation to be based on the distance between the capillary and the sources. This work provides a functional and efficient open-source code to investigate blood vessel growth and the influence of irrigation in this mechanism. Moreover, the thinning algorithm enables us to obtain quantitative data from the three dimensional implementation. Our results are in accordance with the expected biological behaviour for angiogenesis and also in silico previous experiments. Furthermore, this promising implementation enables us to explore a wide perspective of angiogenesis, demanding more simulations and data analysis in the near future.