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A. Reversing Breast Cancer

Narrator: This is Science Today. A successful experiment at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory may lead to a new way to treat breast cancer. Researchers led by cell biologist Mina Bissell, reversed malignancies by manipulating the outside environment of the breast cell called the extracellular matrix.

Bissell: This extracellular matrix actually tells the cells what to do and it gives cells signals. And I proposed that there had to be receptors at the cell surface that took the signals, transmitted it to the nucleus and would then give back signal to the extracellular matrix and to the cells of how to organize themselves and how to remember to be a breast cell.

Narrator: Malignant cells had faulty protein receptors which caused communication breakdown.

Bissell: So we put an inhibitory antibody with the tumor cells and they went completely back to normal. The genes which in these cells is very tumorigenic, but we can change very tumorigenic cell back to normal if we know how to manipulate them from outside.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.