Deep within a mouse leg bone – shown here in cross-section – something is going wrong. Cells are multiplying out of control in the bone marrow, creating a type of cancer called myeloma (stained bluey-purple). Although it's not a very common cancer, myeloma can be difficult to treat successfully and fewer than four in ten patients currently survive for more than five years. One major problem holding back the development of better treatments is the social nature of the cancer cells. They need to interact with other cells in the bone marrow to grow properly – something that's hard to recreate in lonely plastic dishes in the lab. By studying mice that have had myeloma cells transplanted into their leg bone marrow, researchers can get a more realistic view of how the cancer responds to drugs in a real life situation, helping them to pinpoint the most effective future treatments.
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.