Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Seeing the Future

Gene activity of thousands of single cells from breast tissue analysed for clues to cancer development

18 July 2021

Seeing the Future

Do you wish you could see the future? One area where you probably do want to know what’s going to happen is predicting whether cells in the breast are likely to develop into breast cancer and how they will respond to treatment. But given that there are many different types of cells in breast tissue – including the lining cells (pink), immune cells (blue) and fat cells (black) shown in this image of a mouse mammary gland – this isn’t a simple job. Breast tissue also changes as a woman goes through life, making it hard to spot the signs that something is going awry. By creating a detailed catalogue of patterns of gene activity in more than 15,000 individual human and mouse breast cells, researchers are looking for clues that will reveal whether cancer is likely to develop, pointing to new ideas for preventing or treating the disease in the future.

Written by Kat Arney

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