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 Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University

nachricht Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
28.03.2017 | Graphene Flagship

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>