Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers are beginning to take a more fundamental approach to breast cancer by studying how the cellular environment of the breast may trigger a cell to become a tumor. As Zena Werb, an anatomy professor at the University of California, San Francisco explains, everyone has cell mutations, but not everyone develops cancer.
Werb: So the environmental influences on those cells are keeping them behaving normally. So now, if we can take a cell that no longer behaves normally and try to change its environment, we have the hope of making them behave normally. And so this may be the basis of some new kinds of therapy.
Narrator: Werb says the ideal outcome would be treating a pre-malignancy before it becomes cancer.
Werb: Thinking of cancer not just as a disease in which there's a cancer cell wrong, but in which there's a whole environment wrong. I think that is very much the wave of the future.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.