Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK. Often represented by a distinctive shade of hot pink, charities have invested millions to overcome the disease. This image demonstrates an important area of cancer research – understanding how tumours develop. Most breast cancers start in a cluster of cells known as mammary acini. Here, two clusters (stained red) can be seen interacting through long lines of collagen (stained green), a structural protein found throughout the body. Clusters that interact through collagen chains are more likely to disorganise than non-interacting clusters. Beautiful though it may be, this disorganisation may lead to the formation of a cancerous tumour. Research into the development and growth of tumours will help scientists to design better, more targeted treatments for patients, paving the way to a cancer-free future.
Written by Hayley Simon
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.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.