Model of the central nervous system will allow oncologists and neurosurgeons to target tumours more effectively

A larger-than-life model of the human central nervous system including the brain and spinal cord, which will allow oncologists and neurosurgeons to target tumours more effectively, will be among a range of student projects on display at an event at The University of Nottingham this week.

The model uses MRI scans of patients’ central nervous systems to simulate what would happen if anti-cancer drugs are injected into their cerebrospinal fluid — the fluid that flows around the outside of the brain and the spine and carries the drug to areas to be targeted, such as tumours. The equipment can also be tilted at various angles to mimic the movement of patients, for example sleeping in bed at night or sitting down. It could allow doctors to more accurately predict the route of injected drugs and the likely outcome for a patient before carrying out any invasive procedures.

The equipment is just one out of a range of projects that fourth-year students in the University’s School of Mechanical, Materials, Manufacturing Engineering and Management have had to produce as part of their degree course. Prototypes and posters produced from the projects will be on display at an open event within the school on Wednesday June 2 from 10am to 12pm.

Among the visitors to the event will be youngster Annesah Shakh, who has suffered from brain tumours all her life and received treatment from the University’s Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, and her parents Robina and Jamie. Robina is a teleworker for NTL and through a series of fun events she and colleagues raised £2,000 — £800 of which was donated to fund part of the simulation equipment. The work, which has been supervised by Dr Abdelwahab Aroussi, has also been funded by a donation of £6,000 from Lady Mansfield, wife of the University’s Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Mansfield, and £28,000 from the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre.

Among the other projects that will be featured at the open event will be prototypes for a re-designed rotary lawnmower with an automated grass collection system; a wholly variable golf club and very lightweight golf trolley; a bath lift for the people with physical disabilities and adaptations to a car for access by wheelchair users.

The event is aimed at showcasing the ideas of the fourth-year students to staff, fellow students, industry and sponsors and the afternoon will be a closed session during which their hard work will be assessed for their degree.


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