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A common experimental technique for viewing in vivo angiogenesis utilises tumours implanted into a test animal cornea. The cornea is avascular but the tumour promotes vascularisation from the limbus and the new blood vessels can be readily observed through the transparent cornea. Many of the early mathematical models for tumour angiogenesis used this scenario as their experimental template and as such assumed that there is a large gap, of the order of 2mm, between the tumour and neighbouring vasculature at the onset of angiogenesis. In this work we consider whether the assumption that there is a significant gap between the tumour and neighbouring vasculature is unique to intra-cornea tumour implants, or whether this characterises avascular tumour growth more generally. To do this we utilise a simple scaling argument, derive a multi-compartment model for tumour growth, and consider in vivo images. This analysis demonstrates that the corneal implant experiments and the corresponding mathematical models cannot generally be applied to a clinical setting.

Original publication




Journal article


J Theor Biol

Publication Date





97 - 102


Animals, Cell Proliferation, Cornea, Humans, Kinetics, Mice, Models, Biological, Neoplasms, Neovascularization, Pathologic