Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Cancer Cluster
28 March 2014

Cancer Cluster

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

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