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Continuum-Mechanical Analysis of Human Brain Tissue

The effective treatment of brain diseases, such as malignant brain tumours, is generally constricted by the controlled contribution of therapeutic agents. Novel brain tumour therapy proceeds from a direct infusion of the drug into the extra-vascular space of the nervous brain tissue (convection-enhanced delivery). This is carried out using catheter to bypass the blood-brain barrier, which effectively separates brain tissue from the intra-vascular space and hence hamper drug delivery through the bloodstream. The dilation of the target tissue, as response to the local pressure increase, initiates interstitial fluid flow and, thus, the distribution of the chemical agents. An adequate constitutive model of the complex tissue aggregate in the framework of the Theory of Porous Media is essential in order to assist modern clinical application via numerical simulations. The presented model consists of an elastically deformable solid skeleton, provided by the tissue cells, permeated by two viscous, materially incompressible pore-liquid phases, interstitial fluid and blood plasma. Both liquids are mobile within the solid skeleton and separated from each other. With regard to simulate a drug infusion process in the extra-vascular space, the interstitial fluid is treated as a solution of a liquid solvent and a dissolved therapeutic solute. The constitutive assumptions for the involved constituents are adjusted in order to describe the physical behaviour of human brain tissue. The presented numerical examples illustrate the fundamental effects during an infusion process. Therefore, the resulting set of coupled partial differential equations is spatially discretised using hexahedral mixed finite elements with an implicit (backward) Euler time integration scheme to solve the considered problem in a monolithic manner for the primary variables.

A. Wagner & W. Ehlers
Continuum-Mechanical Analysis of Human Brain Tissue. Proceedings in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics 10 (2010), 99–100.