LA JOLLA—By carefully controlling the levels of two proteins, researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered how to keep mammary stem cells—those that can form breast tissue—alive and functioning in the lab. The new ability to propagate mammary stem cells is allowing them to study both breast development and the formation of breast cancers.
“What we’ve shown is that we can take these cells out of a mouse and study them and regulate them in the laboratory by providing them with a specific factor,” says Peter C. Gray, a staff scientist in Salk’s Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, who
December 4, 2009- Working with mice, scientists at Johns Hopkins publishing in the December issue of Neoplasia have shown that a protein made by a gene called “Twist” may be the proverbial red flag that can accurately distinguish stem cells that drive aggressive, metastatic breast cancer from other breast cancer cells.
Building on recent work suggesting that it is a relatively rare subgroup of stem cells in breast tumors that drives breast cancer, scientists have surmised that this subgroup of cells must have some very distinctive qualities and characteristics.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that a cancer gene linked to aggressive spread of the disease promotes breast cancer stem cells. The finding implies a new way to target the behavior of these lethal cells.
The finding involves the cancer gene RhoC, which has previously been shown to promote metastasis of many types of cancer. RhoC levels increase as breast cancer progresses and high levels of RhoC are associated with worse patient survival.
Cancer stem cells are the small number of cells within a tumor that are believed to fuel the tumor’s growth
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A STEM cell therapy offering “natural” breast enlargement is to be made available to British women for the first time.
The treatment could boost cup size while reducing stomach fat. It involves extracting stem cells from spare fat on the stomach or thighs and growing them in a woman’s breasts. An increase of one cup size is likely, with the potential for larger gains as the technique improves.
A trial has already started in Britain to use stem cells to repair the breasts of women who have had cancerous lumps removed. A separate project is understood to be the
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British team pioneers reconstruction technique using enriched tissue
A remarkable reconstruction technique is being trialled by British surgeons, who are harvesting stem-cell-enriched fat from women’s bodies to plug the dip often left by breast cancer operations.
The procedure appears to restore the softness and suppleness of breast tissues, undoing the damage frequently caused by lumpectomy and radiotherapy. Early signs indicate that it also eases the considerable pain with which patients are often left after treatment.
More than 31,000 women a year in Britain with early-stage breast cancer undergo operations in which just the lump and a healthy margin of tissue