Researchers from Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute are hoping that the discovery of stem cells within the breast could lead to detection and treatment of an aggressive type of breast cancer.
The discovery was made by Dr Nai Yang Fu, Dr Anne Rios, Professor Jane Visvader and Professor Geoff Lindeman as part of a 20-year research program into how the breast develops from stem cells, and how breast cancers can arise from stem cells and developing breast tissue.
The cells are largely dormant but respond to progesterone and oestrogen during pregnancy.
The research uncovered the stem cells’ similarity to claudin-low cancers which may lead to improved understanding and treatment of the disease which has a high risk for recurrence and progression.
“We hope that our discovery can be used to understand how cancers may arise from long-lived stem cells, and potentially lead to better outcomes for breast cancer patients in the future,” said Professor Lindeman.
You can read more about the research findings here.