Stacey Finley wins award for mathematical model work related to cancer research
Stacey Finley was awarded the inaugural Leah Edelstein-Keshet Prize from the Society of Mathematical Biology for research to develop a mathematical model to understand the role of angiogenesis in cancer.Finley is a Biomedical Engineering Society Member and a Gabilan Assistant Professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
According to a university article about Finley and her work, angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from a pre-existing network of blood vessels, typically a normal and healthy biological process.
Finley explained that angiogenesis is exploited in cancer because a new network of blood vessels can deliver nutrients to a tumor, helping it flourish. In effect, preventing angiogenesis could potentially stop tumor growth in its tracks.
To that end, Finley prepared a computational model of a human patient with breast cancer, focusing on a growth factor that mediates angiogenesis known as vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF.
“We can predict how VEGF is distributed through the body, how it binds to its receptors in normal tissue and blood and also in tumor tissue,” Finley said. “We can also use the model as a tool to predict the effects of anti-angiogenic therapies.”