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Important Stem Cell Discovery Announced

Important Stem Cell Discovery AnnouncedAustralian researchers say basal breast cancers do not start in stem cell.

Scientists in Australia have discovered that basal breast cancers -- one of the most aggressive types -- begin in the cells lining the mammary glands, not in breast stem cells. The research has been published in the international journal Nature Medicine.

The team studied non-cancerous breast tissue taken from women who carry the BRCA1 gene mutation and compared it to breast tissue from women who do not carry the gene.

Scientists use the term "daughter cells" to describe where the particularly aggressive form of breast cancer originates. "This is different from previous views where it really had been thought it was stem cells that were key culprits in the development of tumors in patients like this," said Dr. Geoff Lindeman, one of the lead scientists at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute's Victorian Breast Cancer Research Consortium Laboratory.

Knowing where the tumors originate gives doctors a more accurate "road map" for treatment -- that is the real breakthrough. "If you know your enemy, then you have a much better way of tackling the disease," Lindeman said.


Read full articles at Science Daily or the Australian Broadcasting Company. 

August 7, 2009