The results, published in Breast Cancer Research, raise intriguing questions about how these bone cells exert their sleep-inducing influence, and whether it's possible to replicate and permanently turn cancers dormant.
"Cancer has this uncanny ability to turn other cell types it comes in contact with to the cancer cell's advantage," says Dr. Bussard, Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and a researcher at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center -- Jefferson Health. "For example, cancer cells can turn the immune cells that should kill it, into its own guards. However, we have now found a population of bone cells that not only resists, but subdues the cancer. It's fascinating."
Authors - Graduate - Students - Alexus - D
Together with co-first authors and graduate students, Alexus D. Kolb and Alison B. Shupp and others, Dr. Bussard probed how bone cells change once they interact with breast cancer cells in the bone. Specifically, they looked at osteoblasts -- a kind of bone cell that lays down new bone, like cement, during growth and repair.
The research team showed that the osteoblast cells from mice as well as humans drastically changed their function after interacting with bone-metastatic breast cancer cells. Earlier studies had shown that in advanced stage bone-metastatic breast cancer patients, osteoblasts stopped working; failing to produce a matrix that stabilizes and strengthens bone. The changes lead to loss of bone density that is common in these patients. In her new work, Dr. Bussard and colleagues showed that in earlier stages of the disease, when cancer cells first enter the bone, rather than producing new bone, osteoblasts may divert their energy toward producing factors to halt cancer cell growth.
Osteoblasts - Humans - Mice - Receptor - Breast
When osteoblasts from humans or mice were exposed to triple negative or estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells that had...
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