Deciphering Cellular Heterogeneity of the Normal Breast to Understand the Origin of Ductal Cancer In Situ (DCIS)

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Investigator: Laura J. Esserman, MD
Sponsor: Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Location(s): United States

Description

Each and every cell in the body is surrounded by a microenvironment, between which there exists a mutual exchange of information that is absolutely required for the development and maintenance of tissues and organs. This exchange, being dynamic, changes continuously depending on the physiological state of the cell, guiding not only development, but also mediating growth, repair, homeostasis, immunity, and all other tissue-specific functions. How the many different types of cells comprising the breast interact with each other and their microenvironment to prevent, or even promote, cancer is still quite mysterious.

In this study, Drs. Bissell and Esserman seek to better understand the earliest malignant changes in cells lining the milk ducts, the architecture of these early DCIS lesions, and the types and functions of cells in these lesions by first gaining a deeper appreciation for the complexity of the normal breast.