3D model to study breast cancer

Slice from the normal acini model after 12 days. Green: membrane, blue: nuclei, red: dividing cells

Scientists from the US have made a computational model of the formation of breast acini, the sac-like part of the milk-producing glands, to understand complex events occurring during the progression of breast cancer.

Jonathan Tang from the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues, made a 3D model of acini formation, for the first time, to study how three different cell activities – apoptosis (programmed cell death), proliferation (cell division) and polarisation (organisation of cell components) – work together to form the tissue. In doing so, they hoped to determine how changes to these activities cause cancer.

‘We believed that such a model would enable us to identify which perturbations cause disorganised structures that resemble tumours, giving us a deeper insight into the complex nature of cancer,’ says Tang.

To read more, check out Elinor Richards’ Chemistry World article here or read the full paper online:

Phenotypic transition maps of 3D breast acini obtained by imaging-guided agent-based modeling
Jonathan Tang, Heiko Enderling, Sabine Becker-Weimann, Christopher Pham, Aris Polyzos, Chen-Yi Chen and Sylvain V. Costes
Integr. Biol., 2011
DOI: 10.1039/c0ib00092b

This article was published as part of a themed issue in honor of Mina J. Bissell.

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