Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stem cells may solve mystery of early pregnancy breast cancer protection

18.09.2008
The answer to why an early pregnancy seems to protect against breast cancer could rest with a decrease in stem cells found after animals have given birth, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears in the current issue of the journal Stem Cell.

Women who have children young, at least before the age of 30, reduce their risk of developing breast cancer, said Dr. Yi Li, a professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at BCM. The most dramatic reduction in risk occurs in women who have their first children before the age of 24. However, the mechanism by which these early pregnancies provided protection has proved elusive.

The promise of such work is important.

"If we can figure out the mechanism behind this, we could develop a pill that we could offer young women in high school and college that could significantly reduce their risk of breast cancer," he said.

However, he said, there are many steps to be taken before he and his colleagues can determine how best to do that. Understanding why stem cells decrease in women who have their children young could prove an important advance.

In studies in mice, Li and his colleagues compared the numbers of mammary or breast stem cells (early cells that can differentiate into breast tissue) found in mice that had had babies at an age equivalent to the teens to mice that had never had babies.

Using proven scientific techniques, they found that the mice that had had early pregnancies had half the numbers of mammary cells found in the mice that had never had babies, Li said.

They found that 1 in approximately 2,500 mammary cells were stem cells in the "virgin" mice while 1 in 5,000 were stem cells in the mice that had given birth.

Why having fewer stems cells protects against breast cancer remains unproven, said Li.

"Stem cells are long-living cells. One theory is that they can thus accumulate more mutations and are probably the most susceptible to giving rise to breast cancer," said Li. Thus, the more stem cells an animal has, the more likely the animal is to developing breast cancer.

However, Li stressed that this is just a theory.

He also noted that the protective effect of pregnancy is seen across the lifetime. The effect is not immediate. He studied the effect in mice that were 10 months old – the equivalent to 50 to 60 years old in humans.

"We saw that the stem cells are reduced," he said. "We know that breast cancer risk is reduced. This is an association. We have not proven that reducing the number of stem cells actually reduces the risk of breast cancer."

That is the next step he plans to take in his research.

Kimberlee Norton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bcm.edu
http://stemcells.alphamedpress.org/cgi/reprint/2008-0103v1.pdf

Further reports about: breast cancer early pregnancy stem cells

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>