Assessing the Effectiveness of Drug Delivery to Stage III Pancreatic Cancer Domain


  • Samantha Blanton


Currently, pancreatic cancer is the third most prevalent malignancy of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The only true “cure” is surgical resection at the early stages. For patients that cannot undergo surgery, or their surgery was not successful in achieving negative tumor margins, the main option for treatment is traditional chemotherapy and occasionally radiation. This research is aimed at understanding and quantifying the effectiveness of the delivery of current chemotherapeutics in use. This work proposes to bring together two fields that have previously not been linked, heterogeneous catalysis and pharmacology. The effectiveness of catalytic materials is evaluated in industrial applications using what is known as the “catalytic effectiveness factor”. This effectiveness factor is the ratio of the reaction rate influenced by diffusion to the rate which is diffusion-free. As drugs in cancer treatment ultimately work by a reaction and (most likely) their transport will be opposed by diffusion, the situation parallels traditional catalysis well.  Therefore, this presentation will revolve around the derivation of an effectiveness factor for drug delivery to a specific solid tumor domain. The domain chosen for this analysis is that of a small cylindrical portion (1-10 mm) of tumor tissue leftover post-operatively that is wrapped around a cylindrical artery with a radius of 2-4 mm. This type of domain is characteristic of some cases of stage III pancreatic cancer. The goal of this work is that by utilizing a mathematically assisted medicine technique, a patient-specific treatment protocol could be developed or, current treatments improved.