Hormone Receptors in Breast Cancer Seen Close-up

Hormone Receptors in Breast Cancer Seen Close-up
Researchers have developed a novel method to study the mechanism by which estrogen/progesterone hormone receptors interact with DNA to regulate breast tumor growth. The paper entitled "Progesterone receptor modulates ERα action in breast cancer" was published in the journal Nature. Breast cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of breast cells eventually forming malignant tumors. Though its causes are still not fully understood, various risk factors have been pointed out that contribute toward tumor growth including cigarette smoking, genetics, and birth control therapy. Mechanistically, abnormal levels of female sex hormones have been linked to breast cancer. There are two types of hormone receptors, estrogen receptors (ER+) and progesterone receptors (PR+), with most breast cancers identified as ER+. However, the role of estrogen/progesterone hormones and their receptors in breast cancer progression are not sufficiently understood to aid the development of efficient therapies. In this study, researchers developed a new method, using state-of-the-art DNA reading technology, to visualize areas where estrogen receptors are attached to DNA and activate specific genes. These visualized maps were compared with breast cancer cells grown with and without influence from progesterone. "Traditionally, breast cancer tumours are destroyed once they have been removed from a patient. The new technique we have developed sees tumour cells from participating patients 'rescued' for research purposes," study author and Professo
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