Navigation Links
Clues to breast cancer hidden inside stem cells

Stem cells and how to boost them is hot on the research agenda. But stopping them could be critical too, as evidence implicating stem cells in cancer is mounting.

In the human breast, up to 20 per cent of all tumours are now suspected to originate in stem cells. Now scientists from the Icelandic Cancer Society and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland have grown three-dimensional breast cell cultures to reveal unexpected subtleties about these stem cells that could explain why they spawn malignancies.

These stem cells, Valgardur Sigurdsson remarked during the EuroSTELLS Conference in Venice, Italy (19-21 March), could become targets for cancer treatment, leading to new therapies that wipe out cancer at its source. The hope is that they might also become useful tools to test new drugs.

"People have long suspected there should be a stem cell population in the human breast gland," said Sigurdsson who is part of the ESF-funded team led by Thorarinn Gudjonsson. A 'virgin' breast, before pregnancy, is very different to a fully functioning, milk-producing breast. With lactation, the breast becomes fully differentiated, and once this stage is over, it involutes. This cycle of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis also happens in every menstrual cycle and in a more dramatic form during pregnancy. "This caught our attention, and has driven our research," Sigurdsson pointed out.

Breast cancer almost always occurs in the luminal epithelial compartment, which is also where milk is produced. Perhaps it is not surprising then, that stem cells reside in this compartment. In 2002, Thorarinn Gudjonsson, successfully isolated cells from the human breast with stem cell properties.

Gudjonsson immortalised these cells and grew them in three dimensional matrix that mimics the real, living tissue. Biologists have long relied on 2-dimensional cell cultures as the basic tool of their trade. But there is a big difference between a fl at layer of cells and culturing cells in three-dimensions. The Icelandic researchers, realizing just how much a cells context matters, used the 3-D cell culture pioneered by Mina Bissell, at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. "We can build up a 3-D breast structure similar to what you have in vivo," says Gudjonsson.

"You can analyse cell-cell interactions and signaling pathways in these cells during morphogenesis and in cancer progression." The Icelandic researchers are now focusing their efforts on how endothelial cells convey signals to stem cells in normal breast formation and in cancer. In collaboration with another Icelandic research team, the Gudjonsson lab is now unraveling the role of tyrosine kinase receptors and their downstream signaling events.

The benefits of these 3-D assays are manifold. "This is a useful system for drug screening and testing new drugs as well as for understanding cancer progression," says Gudjonsson.


'"/>

Source:European Science Foundation


Related biology news :

1. Research on Worms Yields Clues on Aging
2. New Clues Add 40,000 Years to Age of Human Species
3. Clues to gene expression in cystic fibrosis will guide research
4. Renegade RNA -- Clues to cancer and normal growth
5. Viral DNA sequence a possible trigger for breast cancer
6. Used in a new way, RNA interference permanently silences key breast cancer gene
7. Biomarkers isolated from saliva successfully predict oral and breast cancer
8. Study reveals dramatic difference between breast cancers in US and Africa
9. Compounds in plastic packaging act as environmental estrogens altering breast genes
10. Alcohol consumption disrupts breastfeeding hormones
11. VCU Massey Cancer Center study shows enzyme linked to spread of breast cancer cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No two ... researchers at the New York University Tandon School ... Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints ... used in mobile phones and other electronic devices ... The vulnerability lies in the fact that ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market for stem ... 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The rise ... growth of the stem cell market. Download ... The global stem cell market is segmented on the ... cell market of the product is segmented into adult ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- Trends, opportunities and forecast in this market to ... AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, vein recognition, ... industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and retail, health ... and by region ( North America , ... , and the Rest of the World) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., ... a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. ... best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. 11, ... Research, London (ICR) and University of ... SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma (MM), ... nine . The University of Leeds ... funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the testing ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A new study published in ... and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched ... , After comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team ... its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is part of ... the company moves into a significant growth period. , It will also expand its ...
Breaking Biology Technology: