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 Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance
25.09.2017 | Institut Pasteur

nachricht MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

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: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

The material that obscures supermassive black holes

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Ageless ears? Elderly barn owls do not become hard of hearing

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>