Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Three Genetic Steps Convert Normal Mammary Cells Into Breast Cancer Cells

Date:
January 1, 2001
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
Cells originating from normal human breast tissue have been converted into breast cancer cells by a defined protocol of genetic changes. In the January 1 issue of Genes & Development, Dr. Robert Weinberg and colleagues from MIT report that the sequential introduction of three cancer-associated genes into human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) renders these cells tumorigenic.

Cells originating from normal human breast tissue have been converted into breast cancer cells by a defined protocol of genetic changes. In the January 1 issue of Genes & Development, Dr. Robert Weinberg and colleagues from MIT report that the sequential introduction of three cancer-associated genes into human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) renders these cells tumorigenic. This study is the first report of the successful transformation of epithelial cells originating from a differentiated adult tissue such as the mammary gland. Cancers arising from epithelial cells account for the majority of naturally occurring malignancies, and breast cancer in particular is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in the United States. Thus far, the genetic complexity of breast cancer cells has made it difficult to identify the specific genetic alterations that are required for the switch from a normal cell to a tumor cell. Identification of the minimal genetic requirements of tumorigenesis will help to understand the mechanisms underlying the uncontrolled and destructive growth behavior of cancer.

Related Articles


The genes chosen for use in this experiment – SV40 large-T, telomerase hTERT and oncogenic H-rasV12 – interfere with essential regulatory pathways governing cellular growth and survival. The sequential introduction of these three genes into HMECs results in cells that display the typical properties of malignant cells in culture, and form aggressive tumors when transplanted into mice. In addition, the researchers detected in the artificially transformed cells amplifications of the c-myc oncogene, another gene that is frequently mutated in breast cancer. Therefore, this in vitro transformation protocol did not only produce malignant mammary cells, but did also initiate a process of additional events which recapitulate further genetic alterations typically found in the spontaneous development of breast cancer in patients.

An important observation made by Dr. Weinberg and colleagues is that the co-injection of components naturally found in the environment surrounding epithelial cells can substantially facilitate the formation of tumors upon transplantation in mice. This finding supports the hypothesis that cancer is not only the autonomous and uncontrolled growth of a transformed cell, but that it also relies on a specific cross-talk between the tumor and its microenvironment. Finally, this interaction is believed to play a central role in metastasis, the most threatening stage in cancer progression. Both genetic alterations within the cancer cell as well as specific reactions of the surrounding normal cells, are therefore the subject of intense research. Given the effectiveness of this three-step-transformation protocol in generating breast cancer cells in vivo, scientists expect this system to be useful in elucidating the complex process of tumor development, and ultimately to provide a tool for studying novel therapies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Three Genetic Steps Convert Normal Mammary Cells Into Breast Cancer Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 January 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010101102650.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2001, January 1). Three Genetic Steps Convert Normal Mammary Cells Into Breast Cancer Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010101102650.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Three Genetic Steps Convert Normal Mammary Cells Into Breast Cancer Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010101102650.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins