computer, build me a cure

In the fight against cancer, computing is a handy tool for drawing conclusions about various treatments. Of the various emerging areas of computing application, two are particularly ‘engaging’.

Using laser-scanning confocal microscopy, cross-sections of animal (that is, mouse or gerbil) tissue can be vacuumed of non-blood-vessel matter, leaving behind a 3D matrix of the blood network surrounding fat cells… by playing with the blood supply, one can destroy fat cells, and this principle extends to cancer cells quite nicely. Pretty 2D picture of a 3D model. Working as a technician at Harvard, I got to contort and rotate these models that the UNIX workstation spat out all day, one after another… but the mathematical analysis of the space between blood vessels and the growing/ shrinking of vessels was left to the machine.

And, more with nanotech, of course – computer models of special nanoparticles are constructed, which direct the spiting-out of the physical molecules, and testing ensues in the blood stream. The objective is to beat the speed of cancer cells, infiltrating their cell walls. A colorful model and a short write-up.

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