CARDIFF, Wales, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A research team has created a first-of-its-kind three-dimensional mammary gland model they say can help improve their understanding of breast cancer.
The team was comprised of scientists from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute who utilized their new device to study mammary cells in a mouse model. A paper on their findings was published in the journal Nature Communications.
"In order to fully tackle the mechanisms that lie behind breast cancer we first need to understand how healthy breast tissue develops," study author Trevor Dale said in a press release. "As such, developing a model of a normal breast with the actual architecture of a mammary gland has long been a 'Holy Grail' for cancer researchers."
In the study, the research team grew mouse mammary glands into the three-dimensional tissue. The model was able to mimic the structure of a real mammary gland and enable ongoing experimentation. Scientists say this increased their understanding of how breast tissue develops, and may provide the foundation needed to develop more effective treatments for breast cancer.
"This model allows us to really study the basic biology of how the breast develops -- how hormones work, what are the genetic influences," first author Thierry Jarde said. "Further down the track we hope to use this model in tandem with models of breast cancer in order to carry out effective drug-screening."