A three-dimensional mammary gland model that could pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms of breast cancer has been created by researchers.
"Much of how breast tissues respond to external stimuli such as hormones is, as yet, unknown. In order to fully tackle the mechanisms that lie behind breast cancer we first need to understand how healthy breast tissue develops," said one of the researchers Trevor Dale, Professor at Cardiff University School of Biosciences in Britain.
‘A newly developed breast cancer model allows researchers to study the basic biology of how the breast develops. This could pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms of breast cancer.’
"This model allows us to really study the basic biology of how the breast develops - how hormones work, what are the genetic influences," Thierry Jarde from Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, added.
The researchers succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms of breast cancer.
Using a cocktail of growth factors, the scientists were able to grow mouse mammary cells into three-dimensional mammary tissue.
Known as an 'organoid', the model, reported in the journal Nature Communications
, mimics the structure and function of a real mammary gland.
This would enable researchers to increase their understanding of how breast tissue develops, and provides an active model for the study of disease and drug screening.
As well as determining how to grow these life-like mammary glands, researchers also discovered how to maintain them in culture to allow ongoing experimentation.