Student develops computer model to help predict melanoma’s potential spread

Nov 06, 2007, 5:00am

Auckland, New Zealand - A student at Auckland University’s Maurice Wilkins Centre has developed an interactive computer model that doctors will be able to use as a tool to predict how cancerous cells from melanoma will move throughout the body, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Auckland, New Zealand - A student at Auckland University’s Maurice Wilkins Centre has developed an interactive computer model that doctors will be able to use as a tool to predict how cancerous cells from melanoma will move throughout the body, the New Zealand Herald reports.

The three-dimensional model allows doctors to select an area of skin affected by melanoma and then identify the most likely route cancerous cells will take to move through the body should the melanoma spread beyond the skin.

The model uses data collected at the Sydney Melanoma Unit to predict where tumors may develop, which will help physicians focus on those higher-risk areas for treatment.

The New Zealand Herald quoted the model’s creator, doctoral student Hayley Reynolds, as saying that by analyzing data from more than 5,000 patients, “We have mathematically calculated the routes melanoma cells can take around the body via the lymphatic system. By creating the 3D model, doctors can identify the lymph nodes where these cells are most likely to first appear and potentially stop the development of additional tumors at an early stage.”