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Biotech Science

3-D Model of Breast Cancer in the Lab 71

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the just-add-water dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "According to BBC News, U.K. researchers have built a 3-D version of breast cancer in a test tube. Their model contains cells from normal and cancerous breast tissue. The researchers used a collagen gel to form 3-D structures to create structures similar to the ones found in a woman's breast. So far, they focused on a common pre-cancerous condition known as 'ductal carcinoma in situ' (DCIS). With this model, they hope to reduce experiments done on animals such as mice. In fact, these experiments are not always useful because similarities can be poor between mice and humans. Now it remains to be seen if this model will be endorsed by the scientific community."
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3-D Model of Breast Cancer in the Lab

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  • Finally! (Score:4, Funny)

    by HalifaxRage (640242) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @09:24AM (#19103479) Journal
    Finally! Science we can get excited about!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 13, 2007 @09:28AM (#19103507)
    I was excited by the word "Breast" in the story title, but then I saw who submitted it and decided, aahhhh nevermind
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      ATTN: Editors: You can't start a story headline with "3D Model of Breast" and have it be about cancer, instead. It's just not fair!
    • by iknowcss (937215)
      I didn't even read the story. I came to this page just to read THIS COMMENT. God I love Slashdot ...
  • Oh I see (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @09:29AM (#19103519)
    Tests on other mammals weren't close enough. So they decided to test on a bunch of 3D meshes.
    That should be close enough to humans.

    Sarcasm aside, 3D simulations can help in areas where animal testing can't, but scientist have assumed too many things in the creation of those models. Nature usually surprises in a ways a model can't predict.

    The tests done on humans during the World War II in the nazi camps were cruel and inhumane. But no one can reject how useful they were in advancing medicine and providing valuable facts about human anatomy and biology, information used widely even today.

    I wonder, could we somehow put the interests of the many before the interests of the one? We're currently eating every day food additives many claim cause cancer. But there's no way to prove it, since causing cancer in test human subjects is illegal.

    Just consider: since testing those substances is illegal, thousands upon thousands probably die from cancer eating basically poisonous food we distribute in our food chains.
    • Re:Oh I see (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mattpointblank (936343) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [knalbtniopttam]> on Sunday May 13, 2007 @09:40AM (#19103585) Homepage

      I wonder, could we somehow put the interests of the many before the interests of the one?


      Sure! I assume this means you're willing to be infected with cancer for research purposes - after all, interests of the many...
      • Sure! I assume this means you're willing to be infected with cancer for research purposes - after all, interests of the many..

        Unnecessary. We've already reached that stage of scientific development where it is now possible to grow mice with breasts on their backs.

        They are fun, furry, and useful.

        - John
      • by suv4x4 (956391)

        Sure! I assume this means you're willing to be infected with cancer for research purposes - after all, interests of the many...


        Many of the medicines you use (or people you know use) were tested on humans. If they weren't, those people you know wouldn't be able to take advantage of them.

        The problem with testing for cancer is the dogma that a test that is likely to cause cancer is like intentionally killing a human. Thing is, even with drugs that were tested on humans and not supposed to have serious side eff
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Andrew Kismet (955764)
        I think the simplest way to address the problem of choosing that "one" would be to make it a volunteer/pay system. Obviously, the pay would have to be capped to prevent it leading to exploitation of the poor, but the key idea is that those interested in advancing medicine without the knowledge to advance it themselves can put themselves into a position to help.

        I think the most ideal compensation would be flexible - guaranteed insurance cover against negative side-effects! If you come out of it fine with lit
        • by Bodrius (191265)
          I'm not sure, how does the cap on payment prevent exploitation of the poor?

          It seems that historically that only results in them being paid less (according to the cap), and misled through misinformation about both the risks and the compensation.

        • by jez9999 (618189)
          I think the simplest way to address the problem of choosing that "one" would be to make it a volunteer/pay system. Obviously, the pay would have to be capped to prevent it leading to exploitation of the poor, but the key idea is that those interested in advancing medicine without the knowledge to advance it themselves can put themselves into a position to help.

          This does already happen, but the trouble is that when the odd experiment goes horribly, horribly wrong [bbc.co.uk], it gets out into the mass media and people g
        • I think the simplest way to address the problem of choosing that "one" would be to make it a volunteer/pay system. Obviously, the pay would have to be capped to prevent it leading to exploitation of the poor, but the key idea is that those interested in advancing medicine without the knowledge to advance it themselves can put themselves into a position to help.

          I question whether or not this would pass any medical ethics comittee in the Western world. That whole hypocratic oath of "doing no harm" might be a

    • by ral8158 (947954)
      You state yourself that the tests were cruel and inhumane.
      You admit that you are promoting a very, very cruel idea.
      So why do you abstract yourself from these tests, making yourself a third party? After all, you're a thinker, you're not the testee, you're the tester. Right?

      Maybe you should ask yourself if YOU want to be the one the tests are done on. And if you say, "Well, it would benefit everyone else," then you are in serious need of mental help. You should be excited about these models; they can be used
    • by Ralconte (599174)
      But no one can reject how useful they were in advancing medicine and providing valuable facts about human anatomy and biology, information used widely even today. The way I heard it, much of the work of Megele on twins was junk science -- looking for psychic connections, etc. Furthermore, the research on toxins was already known and published -- no real need to do it on humans. Then there's the vacuum experiments, Britain and the US were able to develop fighter aircraft without killing humans by exposi
    • We're currently eating every day food additives many claim cause cancer. But there's no way to prove it, since causing cancer in test human subjects is illegal.

      Just consider: since testing those substances is illegal, thousands upon thousands probably die from cancer eating basically poisonous food we distribute in our food chains.

      Why is testing these substances illegal? Of course it's legal, and of course it is possible to prove whether these substances are carcinogenic or not.

      For example, you can

      • by Everleet (785889)

        For example, you can conduct a double-blind study on people,

        After all, it's important to keep your test results clear of psychosomatic cancer.

  • by MT628496 (959515) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @09:29AM (#19103521)
    Check out channel nine! It's a breast exam!
  • What about the men? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by keraneuology (760918) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @09:43AM (#19103589) Journal
    In 2005 the US government spent about $700 million on a disease that affects one women out of eight. That same year the government spent only $390 million on a disease that affects one man out of six.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by XorNand (517466)
      Because men are scared-to-death, repulsed, deeply saddened (or some combination of the three) to contimplate the thought of their wives walking around sans breast. I'm not a psychologist, but I would think that the reason that breasts are so objectified sexually is that they are linked to a basic, nurturing comfort deep within our psyche very early in our lives. A woman unable to offer fullfill that role has somehow lost a significant porition of her humanity. Of course, when rationally considered that's ut
      • by Mendy (468439) on Sunday May 13, 2007 @10:13AM (#19103771)
        No. If men were funding breast cancer resarch because they were worried about their women becoming mono-breasted then they'd be even more keen to ensure that they didn't become mono-testicled (assuming the parent means testicular and not prostate cancer). If that was the problem we'd just invent better fake breasts anyway.

        I think Dylan Moran summed up the problem well...

        "A big erm health scare on for men for testicular cancer, now that's a pretty scary thing there... women don't get that so much. And it's a very difficult thing coz you have to look for a lump...in a bag of lumps, and that can take a long time. And you have to do it yourself, because nobody actually wants to touch male genitalia anyway coz it looks like some kind of deep sea fish, you know that became extinct after about an half an hour, it just didn't do very well. And it's a very difficult thing, you have to do it yourself, you have to touch yourself. And as a man you are designed to be aroused by most naturally occurring phenomena on the plant. You know if you see a big bag of wheat or a bit of falling masonry, that can get you going. So...actually to touch yourself can be very dangerous, you can have 38 erections in a half an hour and get a very bad nose bleed. And its extremely important not to tell anybody if you do find one coz you know what will happen, they lift you shoulder high through the streets going "lump, lump, lump!" and throw you in prison. And then little men will come in and beat you with spoons. That's what happens, they cover it up but that's what happens."

        Scary stuff.
      • Not only that, but many (if not most) women have been culturally conditioned the same way, and they may be equally terrified of not "being a woman." It's female emasculation.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Lunar_Lamp (976812)
        Actually, the usual reason given for the lower funding for prostate cancers is that men, as a generalisation, are less willing to discuss the issues than women. Men tend to shy away from it, and thus it doesn't receive the same level of publicity, ergo not the same level of funding.
        • by boingo82 (932244)
          Men are generally, also unwilling to discuss testicular cancer. Bring it up at the next dinner party you attend. All the males present will flinch and then slowly move away. Same with prostate cancer.

          Because everyone is more comfortable discussing breast cancer, it gets more attention and more funding.

          • The parent poster actually brings up an extremely valid point. When it was first being marketed, nobody imagined that Viagra would be even remotely as big of a success as it has been.

            The fact is that nobody had any data suggesting that erectile dysfunction was nearly as prevalent as it is because nobody wanted to talk about it. Once it comes out, it's one of the most successful commercial pharmeceuticals in history, and has been linked to a decrease in depression amongst elderly couples.

            If a woman is diag
            • by boingo82 (932244)
              I was thinking of Lance Armstrong specifically in my post too - remember all the media attention about how brave he was, not in his fight against cancer, but how brave he was to be public about the specific type of cancer he had?
      • Because men are scared-to-death, repulsed, deeply saddened (or some combination of the three) to contimplate the thought of their wives walking around sans breast. I'm not a psychologist, but I would think that the reason that breasts are so objectified sexually is that they are linked to a basic, nurturing comfort deep within our psyche very early in our lives. A woman unable to offer fullfill that role has somehow lost a significant porition of her humanity. Of course, when rationally considered that's u
    • What about women's heart disease? It gets far less attention than breast cancer, but kills far more women.
    • spent only $390 million on a disease that affects one man out of six.
      Sorry, but virginity is NOT a disease.
  • The submitter was too busy to write english correctly.. 'ones find in a woman breast'.. submitter must have reverted to his primate self upon encountering an article about breasts.
  • I lost my sense of humor about cancer a couple of years ago when my wife lost one of her breast due to cancer (and yes DCIS reared it's little head). My sense of humor came back, but I'd like to see more research like this directed at cancer. They should have dumped the animal testing years ago if it wasn't yielding usable data.
  • ...of the opening sequence of Weird Science?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "similarities can be poor between mice and humans."

    That's why they should use rats.
  • From the article: In fact, these experiments are not always useful because similarities can be poor between mice and humans."

    First, who was the idiot making comparisons between mice and men? Second, which mice DID have breasts with which those similarities weren't poor?
  • this story is useless without pics.
  • the bigger the better.
  • 3-D Model of Breast
    Wohooo, hooters.

    ... Cancer in the Lab
    Eeewwww. I really need to read faster.
  • any coincidence this is being release on mother's day?
  • If Lara Croft ever finds a lump.
  • This research is far from novel. The technique of growing tumor-derived breast epithelial cells was championed by both John Brugge at Harvard and Mina Bissell at Berkeley. The authors of this BBC article should have done a little research before; this work has not only been published (it is several years old) but it is a truly accepted model for DCIS among cancer researchers.

    Reference:
    -Morphogenesis and oncogenesis of MCF-10A mammary epithelial acini grown in three-dimensional basement membrane cultures.

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