Breast cancer: An improved animal model opens up new treatments | University of Tartu
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Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2 - 116-121, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116 - 121, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, III, rooms 309-352, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18-310, 50090, Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003, Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004, Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a, room 29, 50103, Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, roomm 301, 51003, Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
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    Faculty address: 
    Näituse 2, 50409, Tartu
  • School of Law
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    Lossi 36, 51003, Tartu
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Faculty of Medicine
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Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
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    Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
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  • Institute of Pharmacy
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  • Institute of Dentistry
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  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
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    L. Puusepa 8, 51014, Tartu, Eesti
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
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    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
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    (+372) 737 5360
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5-205, 51014, Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
(+372) 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46-208, 51014, Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46 - 208, 51014, Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618, Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi Str 1, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411, Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
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    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409, Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
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    Riia 23, 23b-134, 51010, Tartu
  • Institute of Technology
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  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
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    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Institutions
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    W.Struve 1, 50091, Tartu
  • Youth Academy
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    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 38, 51003, Tartu
  • Estonian Genome Center
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    Riia 23b, 51010, Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
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    Lossi 25, 51014, Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
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    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51014, Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
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    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Finance Office
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    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51014, Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
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    Ülikooli 18a, 51014, Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
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    Ülikooli 17-114, 51014, Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
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    Ülikooli 18, ruum 210, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
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    Ülikooli 18, 50090, Tartu
  • Office of Research and Development
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    Lossi 3, III korrus, 51003, Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
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    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090, Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
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    Ülikooli 18, 51014, Tartu
  • Student Council
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    Ülikooli 18b, 51014, Tartu
Other Units
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    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
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    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
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    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
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    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
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    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
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Breast cancer: An improved animal model opens up new treatments

Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, affecting one in eight women. There are different types of breast cancer, but one type in particular accounts for almost three quarters of all breast tumors. These tumors feature a receptor for estrogen, and very often become resistant to hormone therapy. Despite their high frequency, these “estrogen receptor-positive” tumors have been difficult to research because the animals we test drugs on are often not relevant to the clinic.

Publishing in Cancer Cell, EPFL scientists, including scientists from the University of Tartu, have now developed the most biologically faithful animal model for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Their model has also been tested on human breast tissue in a pre-clinical context.

About 90 percent of tested new cancer drugs fail. The reason, in part, is that the animals on which these drugs are tested often fail to capture the complex biology of the cancers they are meant to represent. This biological inaccuracy frequently gives rise to data that seem encouraging at first but are then not matched in humans. The drug fails, and pushes research back to square one.

Some of the best pre-clinical animal models for breast cancer are made by injecting human breast tumors into the fatty tissue of the animal’s breast or its flank – the animal itself is usually a mouse. Nevertheless, these animal models – called “patient-derived xenografts” – underrepresent the most frequent and lethal breast tumors, the estrogen receptor-positive type. The reason is that after injection into the animal, the tumor cells frequently die off and fail to proliferate.

The lab of Cathrin Brisken at EPFL has now developed the first xenograft to better represent the biology of estrogen receptor-positive breast tumors in humans. Postdoc George Sflomos and colleagues show that the mouse’s milk ducts are the key for the physiological growth of estrogen receptor-positive breast tumors, as they offer the injected cells a more suitable environment to grow and proliferate in rather than the conventional routes (the mammary fat pad and the flank). By injecting cells from an estrogen receptor-positive tumor into the mouse’s milk ducts, the researchers could improve the survival rate of the tumor cells the first time ever.

To test their new xenograft idea, the team obtained breast cancer cell lines and tumor tissues from estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients, and injected them directly into the milk ducts of mice. The results were remarkable: All the new xenograft models that were tested faithfully mimicked actual patient tumors in terms of histopathology and even molecular biology.

“With this breakthrough, breast cancer disease, progression and metastasis, now become amenable to study,” says Sflomos. “We can now study crucial factors, such as the action of hormones and molecular responses to therapies, for the first time in a relevant context. But more importantly, this model opens up new opportunities not only for the development but also for the evaluation of breast cancer therapies.”

---

This work included a collaboration of EPFL’s Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and the University of Tartu (Estonia). It was funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking/PREDECT consortium), the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, Oncosuisse and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Reference

Sflomos G, Dormoy V, Metsalu T, Jeitziner R, Battista L, Scabia V, Raffoul W, Delaloye J-F, Treboux A, Fiche M, Vilo J, Ayyanan A, Brisken C. A preclinical model for ERα-positive breast cancer points to the epithelial microenvironment as determinant of luminal phenotype and hormone response.Cancer Cell 14 March 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccell.2016.02.002

Source http://actu.epfl.ch/news/breast-cancer-an-improved-animal-model-opens-up...

Virge Tamme
Tartu Ülikooli pressinõunik
Tel: +(372) 737 5683
Mob: +(372) 5815 5392
E-post: virge.tamme [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

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