Researchers from Germany’s Hemholtz Center in Munich have announced in a press statement that they’ve managed to develop a miniature breast out of previously discarded breast tissue, which has the possibility of being used to further research regarding the deadly breast cancer and test more ways of treating it.
The researchers, led by Dr. Christina Scheel, used healthy breast tissue from females who had breast reduction surgeries, and then inserted the breast into a transparent gel which permits cell division. The experiment has successfully yielded them a miniature mammary gland on which further tests are to be performed.
“This technological break-through provides the basis for many research projects, both those aimed to understand how breast cancer cells acquire aggressive traits, as well as to elucidate how adult stem cells function in normal regeneration” said Dr. Scheel in the press release.
Tissue pertaining to mammary gland is renewed on a constant basis during a woman’s life, a process which is needed for breast milk production. This is apparently the work of the many stem cells it possesses; however, it is thought that cancerous cells which affect the breast take on the highly regenerative properties of the stem cells, which explains why breast cancer is difficult treat and in many cases requires a mastectomy.
But having now the chance of studying a miniature copy of a natural breast at will, the German researchers hope that they will gain a better understanding of how mammary stem cells work, which will also shed more light on their cancerous counterparts.
Another report, this time coming from the U.S., states that researchers from the Georgia Regents University might have found links between abortion and the development of breast cancer. According to the research, a woman’s breast starts developing special cells during pregnancy, a process which is interrupted after an abortion; apparently, the immature cells then pose a slightly higher risk of turning cancerous. Take note, however, that the research has been discredited by both the American Cancer Society and UK’s Royal College of Gynecologists based on the lack of solid scientific evidence to prove a link between abortion and higher cancer risk.
According to statistics posted by the CDC, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among American women and also the second when it comes to causes of cancer death. In 2011, the most recent year for which full statistics are available, over 220,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S., out of which more than 40,000 died.
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