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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Zebra Fish Saves Boobs

What if doctors could peer through a patient’s skin and see a cancer tumor growing? They’d be able to study how tumor cells migrate: how they look, how they interact with the blood system to find nourishment to grow and spread through the body. Well, a group of scientist did just that. We all know that scientists can’t look through human skin except in movies. But a small, tropical minnow fish common to aquariums has given our researchers a window for viewing live, human cancer cells in action. Working with transparent zebrafish to study one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, has led to their discovery of how two proteins interact in the metastasis of breast cancer. 

These guys spend their time by watching human breast cancer cells 'in real time' inside a live transgenic (transparent) zebra fish. They have found out (after quite some time) that they were able to determine that two proteins are required in order for breast tumor cells to complete the most critical step of metastasis, that is, entering the blood vessels. These proteins are supposed to do some working up together to allow cancerous breast tumors to enter the blood vessels, thus promoting metastasis. I can't really explain what metastasis means so feel free to check it out here. Come on, you lazy bums.

As the story goes, the transparency of the fish also allowed the researchers to image and analyze, in three dimensions, images of a potential anti-cancer compound. So there will be a cure and we owed it all to this little transparent zebra fish. This is indeed a good news for women all around the world. But it doesn't mean we don't need to do a simple check up every month. Think of it this way, if you are proud of your boobs, early detection of cancer reduces the risk of having to endure a painful mastectomy.


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