Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Lab-grown organoid mimics the development of breast tissue

15 August 2021

Enter the Matrix

Developing organs must grow out into their surroundings, their extracellular matrix – but what are their first steps? Here a lab-grown organoid mimics the growth of a mammary gland, formed from cells donated by healthy human volunteers. Watched over days under a confocal fluorescent microscope (and speeded up here), the breast cells (highlighted in red) appear to rock back and forth – pulses of pushing and pulling that distort the nearby matrix of collagen (white). Not only does this help to create space for the branches of new ducts to grow, but it moulds the collagen into strong cage-like structures, further encouraging growth while supplying nourishing chemicals and support. Scientists may use similar techniques to examine these events in other tissues, including how breast cancers might develop into their own surrounding microenvironment.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

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.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.