These snaking trails of coloured blobs are leading researchers to a deeper understanding of prostate cancer. These are thin slices of tissue taken from healthy prostate samples, labelled with fluorescent tags that highlight different molecules. On the left, cells carrying a protein called p63 are picked out in red, while cells bearing p63 together with another protein – Sox2 – are yellow. On the right, this image has been overlaid with a blue stain that detects the nuclei of the cells. Sox2 is well known to biologists as it plays an important role in stem cells, but these images show that it's found in normal prostate cells too. Scientists have now discovered that there are particularly high levels of it in prostate cancers that are resistant to hormone therapy, so understanding what Sox2 is up to in these tumours could lead to more effective treatments in the future.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.