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Berkeley Lab scientists find that normal breast cells help kill cancer cells
Date:4/13/2011

ab colleague of Bissell's.

"Even healthy individuals produce genetically impaired cells at the rate of up to 1,000 aberrant cells per day, however, as a part of homeostatic regulations, these cancer-prone cells are efficiently eradicated by the so- called tumor surveillance system of our body," Furuta says. "A number of tumor surveillance mechanisms have been described in the past, including the classic molecular tumor suppressors, immune surveillance, and suppression by the extracellular matrix and other microenvironmental factors. We are now adding a new type of tumor suppression to this list, IL25 and other proteins secreted by normal breast cells that kill or subdue their mutated neighbors."

In their study, Furuta, Bissell, Lee and their colleagues found that whereas IL25 was highly toxic to breast cancer cells, it did not harm normal breast cells. The selectivity, they discovered, is due to the presence of an abundance of exposed IL25 receptors on breast cancer cells. These IL25 receptors were absent on normal breast cells.

"Since IL25 is produced by healthy breast tissue as a natural defense mechanism against cancer during the cell differentiation process, we should be able to utilize IL25/IL25 receptor signaling as an organic approach to breast cancer therapy," Furuta says.

Normal epithelial cells, in cooperation with the microenvironment that surrounds them, actively help maintain the health and integrity of tissue. They do this in part by regulating the secretion of cell signaling factors both autocrine and paracrine - that promote the development of healthy organs and prevent the aberrant growth of neighboring cells. In previous studies, Furuta and collaborators have shown that conditioned-medium, taken from normal mammary epithelial cells while in the process of forming acini in a 3D lamin-rich extracellular matrix culture, can "revert" the malignant phenotype of breast cancer cells so that they behave as
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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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