Stem Cell Therapy: Modeling the application of renewable stem cells on bodies affected by cancer.

Team: 1006

School: Taos High

Area of Science: Medicine and Health

Team Members: Joshua Fambro, Delaney Galligan, Kyle Totman
Team Number: THS 1006
Area of Science: Medicine & Health
Team Sponsor: Tracy Galligan
School: Taos High School

Problem Definition:
Stem cell therapy is some of the newest and most innovate medicinal sciences to date. Due to this, the full potential of stem cells have not been fully tapped. Essentially, stem cells are the body’s building blocks- the basic and unprocessed materials that construct a variety of human life forms. Stem cells can be categorized into two types based off of where they are harvested in the body- Embryonic and Adult. Embryonic stem cells are collected from Embryos, while Adult stem cells are collected from tissues within the body. Despite the fact that these are both viable forms of stem cells, adult stem cells are more difficult to use for regeneration and give rise to a lesser variety of how they can be utilized. However, Embryonic stem cells have a high versatility, making them favorable to use for stem cell therapy.

When a human is developing, stem cells regenerate and form daughter cells. These daughter cells can then either be used to generate more stem cells or generate new cells with specialized functions. This process happens on a regular basis within the human body. For instance, when someone suffers from a cut, the cut typically bleeds. After the bleeding has stopped, a scab forms. In a matter of days, the scab fades and the injured body is back to normal. This process occurs because the body and its’ supply of stem cells work together to heal itself. Based off of this premise, stem cells can therefore be harvested, manipulated, and specialized depending on what is needed on a case-by-case basis, and therefore reduce recovery time. These fundamental basics behind stem cell therapy can then be utilized at an increased rate, contributing to the reduction of fatal diseases and injuries.

Problem Solution/Expected Results:
Using NetLogo (and possibly other 3D modeling software), we plan to model what stem cells are and how they can be harnessed to combat different types of cancer and diseases within the body. Particularly, we want to model the regeneration of stem cells, the specialization and manipulation of stem cells, how stem cells are harvested, how stem cells work together in the body, and how they can be used to combat a variety of disease. We hope to learn and highlight the true potential of stem cells and stem cell therapy, while continuing to advance the application and widespread implementation of it. Essentially, we just wish to see this project go beyond the challenge and into the future of applied medicinal science.

Progress to Date:
As of right now, our team is working on research, the model, and the report. One person is focused mainly on the report and research, one on the program, and the third person fluxuates between the three. However, we have been mainly focusing on research before we begin to code our model. We feel that having an accurate and fundamental idea of stem cells and stem cell therapy is a requirement before moving on to anything else.

Dalerba, Piero, et al. “Cancer Stem Cells: Models and Concepts.” Annual Reviews, 26
Sept. 2006,
Enderling, Heiko, and Katarzyna Anna Rejniak. “Simulating Cancer: Computational Models in
Oncology.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 13 Sept.
Hu, Yapeng, and Liwu Fu. “Targeting Cancer Stem Cells: a New Therapy to Cure Cancer
Patients.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 28 Apr. 2012,
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Stem Cells: Frequently Asked Questions about Stem Cell Research.” Mayo
Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Oct. 2018,
M, Sehl, et al. “Extinction Models for Cancer Stem Cell Therapy.” US National Library of
Medicine National Institutes of Health, 6 Oct. 2011,
Tartarini, Daniele, and Elisa Mele. “Adult Stem Cell Therapies for Wound Healing: Biomaterials
and Computational Models.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of
Health, 11 Jan. 2016,
Zhang, Cheng-Liang, et al. “Stem Cells in Cancer Therapy: Opportunities and
Challenges.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 8 Sept.

Team Members:

  Kyle Totman
  Delaney Galligan
  Joshua Fambro

Sponsoring Teacher:

Mail the entire Team