Microscopic behaviour of developing breast cells uncovered

An improved high-tech fluorescence microscopy technique is allowing researchers to film cells inside the breast as never seen before.

This new protocol provides detailed instructions on how to capture hi-res movies of cell movement, division and cooperation, in hard-to-reach regions of breast tissue.

The technology – called multiphoton microscopy – uses infrared lasers to illuminate fluorescently labelled breast cells without harming them, so that elusive cell behaviours can be observed within living tissue.

With the new method, WEHI researchers have revealed how breast cells rearrange, interact and sense their environment as the breast grows during development and recedes after lactation.

Cell imaging within living tissue has been achieved in many organs but the breast has remained especially challenging. So far, this new method has revealed exciting and unexpected details of breast biology and will help teams worldwide to advance research on breast development and cancer.

At a glance

An improved imaging protocol is allowing researchers to film cells as never seen before.

This new application of high-tech microscopy has enabled the imaging of stem cells as they guide breast development, and immune cells as they monitor the breast ducts to keep them healthy.

By imaging living, moving cells in their natural setting, researchers can better understand how our bodies function in real-time at the microscopic scale.


Understanding cell function

The protocol was developed by researcher Dr Caleb Dawson, in a team led by Professor Jane Visvader and Dr Anne Rios, in collaboration with Dr Scott Mueller from the Doherty Institute, and published in Nature Protocols today.

Dr Dawson said the filming technique unlocked a variety of applications to better understand how cells function, interact and develop.

“One of the most valuable things we have been able to film with the technique are the terminal end buds (TEBs) in breast tissue,” he said.

“These are club-like structures at the tips of the mammary ducts that grow during puberty to produce the branched tree structure of breast tissue. The unique cells inside the TEBs have never been filmed like this before so it was fascinating to watch this process for the first time.”

“We have watched a cell behaviour inside the TEB that was hypothesised in the 1980s but was never proven, and which has implications for breast stem cell function.”


Previously, TEBs had been studied by dissociating the individual cells and filming them outside the breast or by taking still images. With these approaches it is difficult to know how the cells actually behave and interact in living tissue.

“By filming the moving cells inside intact breast tissue in laboratory models, we are able to grasp a better understanding of how the cells behave and cooperate to help the breast to form and function properly.”

Dr Dawson said that he was grateful for the brilliant team and the cutting-edge technology provided by the Center for Dynamic Imaging at WEHI that made this work possible.

“When we embarked on our mission to film these processes, I had little knowledge of the effort it would require. With the vision of leading breast researchers Professor Visvader, Dr Rios and Professor Geoff Lindeman, alongside the live imaging expertise of Dr Mueller, and the microscopes available, we were able to achieve something that very few labs in the world have accomplished,” he said.

Opening the doors to new research opportunities

Dr Dawson said the filming technique could be applied to a host of research endeavours.

“Our approach enables us to image up to six fluorescent colours at the same time, which allows us to see how more cell types interact,” he said.

“We can image different stages of breast development, immune cells, lymph nodes and hair follicles and watch how individually-labelled cells function.”

“This means we can create beautiful images with extremely fine details about the cell shapes to get a better understanding of how cells interact and change over time. This opens up many new research opportunities and we are only just starting to see the potential of what this could be used for.”

Dr Dawson said he hoped the imaging protocol would make this type of imaging more widely accessible to researchers.

“There are very few research institutions doing this really high-end imaging, so it is great that we have this capacity in Melbourne and can share it with research teams worldwide.”

The original news article was posted on the WEHI website. Video courtesy of WEHI.

ACRF has awarded $10m in grants to WEHI for cancer research. Our esteemed Medical Research Advisory Committee ensures that only the most promising cancer research initiatives in Australia receive our funding. If you would like to financially contribute, please go to acrf.com.au/donate

Zoe takes on Mt Kilimanjaro for cancer research

Cancer, types of cancer, cancer foundation, australian cancer research foundation, cancer charities, cancer charity, acrf, cancer news, cancer fundraising, cancer awareness, cancer donate, cancer donation, cancer donations, give to charity, giving to charity, cancer articles, cancer research donate, cancer research donation, donate to cancer research, cancer research funding, charities for cancer, donate to cancer, Australian cancer charities, australia cancer research, best cancer charity, cancer research fundraising, cancer charity events, cancer charity donations, donate to cancer charity, australia cancer research, cancer research fundraising, give to cancer research,“In October, I’ll be fulfilling one of my biggest dreams — climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. About six years ago I did some trekking in Nepal and Tibet, and because I’m such a beach girl I was really surprised by how much I loved being in the mountains. It gave me this unexpected sense of peace and inspired me to explore other places.

I knew that when I did finally get the chance to turn my dream into a reality, I would be fundraising for cancer along the way.

Cancer research is a cause that is very dear to my heart. I have witnessed many loved ones suffer from this disease, including my grandfather who passed away from bowel cancer 16 years ago.

My Aunty is now fighting ovarian cancer as well. After two rounds of chemotherapy, we’re hopeful that it won’t progress. Despite what she’s going through, she still carries herself with such courage and grace and inspires everyone around her.

Her son was diagnosed with leukaemia at just two years old and sadly lost his battle at seven. I was 14 at the time and I remember how brave he was, how little he complained, and how much I learned about the importance of living each day to the fullest. This is when I first realised that life is precious and not to be wasted.

You only live once so you may as well make it count, which is why I thought; why wait any longer to cross Mt Kilimanjaro off my bucket list?

I really love to travel and meet new people and see new cultures so this is the perfect opportunity. Africa is such a fascinating place to me and I’m really looking forward to being in nature, removed from all the distractions of daily life. The area looks so stunning, I’m hoping that I might get a glimpse of some of the ‘Big 5‘ in their natural habitat.

I’m sure it will be challenging but I’m passionate about breaking down the limitations of the mind and living the life of your dreams. A few years ago, I was in a serious car accident that left me with injuries and for months I was bed ridden, so ever since then I love to challenge myself physically and mentally.

Cancer, types of cancer, cancer foundation, australian cancer research foundation, cancer charities, cancer charity, acrf, cancer news, cancer fundraising, cancer awareness, cancer donate, cancer donation, cancer donations, give to charity, giving to charity, cancer articles, cancer research donate, cancer research donation, donate to cancer research, cancer research funding, charities for cancer, donate to cancer, Australian cancer charities, australia cancer research, best cancer charity, cancer research fundraising, cancer charity events, cancer charity donations, donate to cancer charity, australia cancer research, cancer research fundraising, give to cancer research,I remember trekking in Tibet, over a pass at 5500 metres and feeling so sick that I wanted to give up. But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and telling myself “you can do this, this is nothing compared to what you’ve been through before.” The sense of accomplishment at the end of the day was like nothing else. It showed me that we can do anything we put our minds to.

I am so proud to be climbing for cancer research. With 1 in 3 people now being diagnosed with cancer, I believe anything we can do to stop cancer in its tracks is important. Having seen so many loved ones go through treatment I think the more we learn about the disease, the better treatment will become. My hope is that we can not only cure cancer but prevent it.

In honour of those who have survived, who kicked cancer in the butt, to those who are currently fighting and to those who have lost their battle, I dedicate this climb to you. I know that all of you will be with me every step of the way.” – ACRF supporter, Zoe Trenwith

Zoe is a yoga teacher and in the lead up to her climb, she will be hosting a 108 Sun Salutation Fundraising class in South Australia on June 17th. “As a yoga teacher, I knew that hosting a yoga event was one way I could do something to bring people together.” If you would like to support Zoe, or find out more about her yoga class, click here.

Promising new treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia

cancer articles, cancer research donate, cancer research donation, donate to cancer research, information about cancer, cancer research funding,Patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) can look forward to the development of new therapies following a discovery by cancer researchers at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

While investigating ways to target particular types of AML, and hoping to increase the chance of a cure for the patient while limiting damage to healthy cells, the team discovered a new way to kill cells that are dangerously multiplying.

A process known as apoptosis (programmed cell death) is a natural and necessary response to keep the proliferation of human cells in check. Apoptosis is interrupted in cancers, including AML, leading to unchecked cell growth.

Dr. Gabriela Brumatti said traditional chemotherapies, which encourage apoptosis, have a high relapse rate. For example, within five years of completing treatment, half of AML patients suffer a relapse of their cancer, and of those who relapse, only 50 percent survive.

Her team tried a ‘blue sky’ approach, inhibiting apoptosis of AML cells in order to unleash an alternative form of cell death called necroptosis. They found that the necroptosis cell death pathway was more effective at killing AML than apoptosis.

In preclinical trials, they used a combination of drugs – birinapant, a new anti-cancer drug, and emricasan, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved inhibitor of apoptosis – to kill AML.

“It has been speculated that inducing necroptosis might be an effective way to kill cancer cells,” said Professor Silke. “Our work now demonstrates clearly it is a clinically feasible and safe approach.”

Dr. Brumatti suggested that since cancer cells often acquire resistance to traditional chemotherapy-induced apoptosis, this novel type of chemotherapy has the potential to be used to treat otherwise impossible to treat leukaemias.

These findings have just been published in the research journal Science Translational Medicine.

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has supported WEHI by providing three grants, totalling AUD 5.5million towards cutting edge cancer research equipment and technology.

The original news post was published on the WEHI website. Images of the research team courtesy of WEHI.

Cancer researchers ‘switch on’ Natural Killer cells to fight cancer

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) researchers, led by Dr Sandra Nicholson and Dr Nicholas Huntington, together with colleagues from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR), are investigating ways to ‘switch on’ our Natural Killer (NK) cells to fight cancer.

The researchers identified a protein ‘brake’ within Natural Killer cells that controls their ability to destroy their target tumour cells.

“Natural Killer cells exist to detect and then destroy any deviant cells in our bodies before those cells go on to develop into tumours or before infection spreads,” Dr Nicholson said.

“Natural Killer cells are a key part of our immune system they work by locating other cells posing a danger to health either because they are infected or because they are becoming a cancer cell,” she continued.

Our bodies are constantly and successfully fighting off the development of cells that lead to tumours – but when there is disruption to this process cancer is free to develop.

In their paper published in Nature Immunology, they showed that when the brake was removed in an experimental model, the NK cells were better able to protect the body against metastatic melanoma.

Natural Killer cells rely on a growth factor called Interleukin 15 (IL15) to activate. Dr Nicholson and Dr Huntington’s research has shown that an inhibitor protein made inside the Natural Killer cells limits the ability of the NK cell to respond to IL15 and therefore kill cancer cells.

By identifying for the first time how this protein inhibits NK cell responses, they now hope that a drug can be developed that will improve the response of NK cells to this growth factor and help patients fight cancer with their own immune system.

“This is about learning how to activate the NK cells of the individual patient and boost their immune system to tackle the disease,” Dr Huntington said.

“We are hopeful our research will lead to new immunotherapies that supercharge the body’s Natural Killer cells and maintain it in a highly active state to more efficiently and specifically fight cancer.”

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation has supported WEHI by providing three grants, totalling AUD 5.5million towards cutting edge cancer research equipment and technology.

The original news post including the YouTube video was published on WEHI website.

Where one daughter leads, her mother follows – an inspiring distance runner shares her story

Professor Anne Boyd, marathon runner, fun runs, run for cancer research, cancer charity, charity foundation, fighting cancer, online fundraising, charity volunteer, city2surf, chairity challenge, cancer, fitness

“I truly believe we will beat cancer, possibly in my lifetime.” – Professor Anne Boyd.

Professor Boyd is 69 years young and discovered her passion for distance running only a few short years ago. This has led her to not only become a great advocate for cancer research, raising both funds and awareness, but it has also led her to win the Sydney Striders F65-69 Marathon trophy and become the Southern Highlands Challenge poster girl!

Her love affair with running began back in 2013, when she decided that, in celebration of her 67th Birthday, she would compete in her first 5K run at the Australian Running Festival in Canberra.

Two years later, she has become a dedicated running enthusiast and has completed a number of challenging races including City2Surf, four Half Marathons, the Melbourne Marathon and numerous other competitive10Ks.

“I’ve loved every step, even the more painful ones. I enjoy mid-race conversations with other runners and play up photo opportunities! A camera is always worth a grin and a grin helps deal with any fatigue issues which might be building up. Although there is real pleasure in achieving a personal best, my only important aim in a run is to finish,” says Anne.

Anne sees the sport as a really great way to raise funds for a cause that touches all our lives.

“I am personally so grateful for advances in cancer research. I’ve had tests detect precancerous polyps, which I had removed, and a recent breast scan that detected a small lump which was quickly determined not to be of any danger. These advances, of course, are bought about through the research that has made such great strides in my lifetime. But it needs everyone’s support, so I’m really happy that I can do my part and run for this cause.”

Anne’s daughter, Helen Louise is a huge supporter of her mum’s new found hobby and has been a great source of inspiration and encouragement to her since the beginning. As a distance runner herself, she became her mum’s go-to for knowledge on all things running and even ran alongside Anne in her very first race, helping her to achieve third place in her age division.

“My darling daughter ran with me as a warm-up for her serious event the next day and was rewarded with considerable grumpiness from her hot and bothered mother during the final kilometres! But to finish was a joy! She has played a key role in my new found passion, so now, where she leads, I follow.”

To support Anne at this year’s City to Surf, click here.

Share your story

A Soldier Saved

Simon Toovey_and sonV2

“I support the ACRF because my son is alive and well today thanks to the great strides being made in cancer research around diagnosis and treatment.

My 23 year old son was diagnosed with testicular cancer during his final year of training to become an Officer in the Australian Army. Within days of hearing the news he had to go in for surgery and had an orchiectomy. Unfortunately though, at that point, the cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes and he was told that he would have to undergo chemotherapy treatments.

He began his chemo immediately following his graduation from the Royal Military College in December 2013. But as bad luck would have it, he didn’t get an all clear, even after four rounds of chemo. So the next step was an extensive open abdominal surgical procedure, known as a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) which was followed by a lengthy recovery. Fortunately, he’s now in remission and has embarked on what will be a proud military career.

Becoming a Partner in the Cure was a small way for me to help others become cancer survivors like my son.”

Simon Toovey, Regular Giver of the Month.

Share your story

New melanoma treatment triggers 20-fold improvement

Cancer treatment, skin cancer, melanoma, cancer research, cancer scientists, discoveries,

Studies conducted by cancer scientists at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute (UQDI) have found a new experimental drug called Anisina significantly increases the effectiveness of existing therapies used to treat melanoma.

Around 12,500 Australians are diagnosed each year with malignant melanoma and it is responsible for over 1,500 deaths. It is a notoriously difficult cancer to treat, due to the number of mutations that make the cancerous cells difficult to target.

Errors in the ‘BRAF’ gene have been identified as among the most prominent mutations, and two drugs that target ‘BRAF’ (vemurafenib and dabrafenib) have been developed and approved for use in recent years.

However no targeted therapy exists for the 50% of melanoma patients whose tumors do not have this most prominent mutation. As a result, developing a new drug that is effective across all mutations has become a focus in current cancer research.

Cancer scientists have found that when Anisina is partnered with existing drugs it helps destroy two key parts of the cancer cell’s skeleton, resulting in a 20-fold increase in the anti-cancer effect of the other drugs. This benefits all melanoma patients fighting cancer as the new drug targets melanoma cells regardless of their mutational status.

Nikolas Haass MD PhD conducted the research studies along with Brian Gabrielli PhD.

Dr. Haass said, “These findings from the preliminary screen with Anisina are exciting. Finding a compound that is equally effective against a wide panel of melanoma cell types irrespective of the genetic background has been a long-held goal.”

Justine Stehn PhD, Novogen Anti-Tropomyosin Program Director, said, ” The idea that we now have a means of making melanoma cells respond to potent anticancer drugs is an exciting development for patients with melanoma.”

Plans are now underway to bring Anisine into the clinic by early 2016.

The ACRF is proud to have provided $6.2 million to support the work of UQDI’s world-class researchers in recent years.

This information was originally published by Novogen website and can be found here.

Chris runs a marathon of marathons to support those fighting cancer

Marathons, running, cancer, cancer research, acrf, donations, charity

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Australia with an estimated 43,700 people succumbing to it each year.*

So what can one person do help so many who are fighting cancer?

Adelaide local, Chris Glacken answers with “anything and everything you can,” and has challenged himself to run 24 marathons in 24 months to help raise funds for cancer research.

Several of Chris’ close friends and family members, including his father, have been recently diagnosed with cancer. This motivated him to find a way to join in their battle against this terrible disease.

His mission now, for his 24 marathon conquest, is to have the “courage to start, strength to endure, and resolve to finish”.

“This may be a tough and expensive gig but the satisfaction gained from having a go at raising much needed funds for the ACRF makes it all worthwhile,” says Chris.

This adventure is just one of many fundraising efforts that he and his wife Grace have organised over the years, raising around $4,200. His target for marathon donations this year is $15,000. And if he reaches his target, Chris, his wife, and their incredible supporters will have contributed a whopping $20,000.00 in just a few years: fighting cancer through research.

Chris began his marathon of marathons last year at the Cadbury Hobart Marathon in January and will continue to participate in races across the country with his final race ending in Portland, Victoria in November 2015.

His every step is helping cancer scientists get closer to preventing, diagnosing and finding a cure for cancer, so we encourage anyone and everyone to cheer him on!

To follow him on his journey or to donate click here.

* https://acrf.com.au/on-cancer/cancer-statistics-australia/ (2015)

 

Share your story

New Hope for Sufferers of Ovarian Cancer

New_Hope_Ovarian_CancerAustralian experts say new drug developments and individualised treatments are bolstering efforts to improve the prognosis for patients with epithelial ovarian cancer.

Professor Martin Oehler, Director of the Department of Gynaecological Oncology at Royal Adelaide Hospital, said the past 20 years had seen little improvement in the detection and treatment of ovarian cancer, but there are now many advances in the pipeline and the research community is ‘very positive and hopeful’.

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common type of ovarian cancer and develops in the epithelium, which is the surface of the ovary. There are currently no tests effective enough for a population based screening program for ovarian cancer, and symptoms can often be vague making early diagnosis difficult.

International research efforts have been focused on early detection, and although technical limitations had so far prevented the development of a blood test to detect ovarian cancer researchers are now looking to the disease’s immune signature to aid early detection.

Oncologist Dr Anne Hamilton from the ACRF-funded research institute Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said ‘the building blocks’ were now starting to fall into place and new drug therapies were showing promise. The Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, for which Dr Hamilton is a scientific advisor, is studying the genetic changes leading to the formation of cancers.

“The study has already identified subgroups of ovarian cancer and what that’s giving us now is an ability to try to tailor treatment to six different types of ovarian cancer rather than one.” Dr Hamilton said.

Researchers have realised that ovarian cancer is a very heterogeneous disease consisting of distinct subtypes of different origin that vary significantly with regard to molecular biology and clinical behaviour. With this increased knowledge, the hope is for the development of more innovative and targeted treatments.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Glenys' Appeal

Glenys’ Appeal: an excerpt

“Back in 1984, a wonderful group of people led by Lady Sonia McMahon (she was such a vibrant, and active ambassador for the ACRF) asked my husband John to help start up a charity that – free from government constraints – would fill a vital gap in cancer funding in Australia.

“They saw that great scientists were working in poor conditions with dated technologies, and by rectifying this situation, new treatments and cures would be discovered faster than ever before.

“Of course when we first came on-board we couldn’t have known John would one day be diagnosed with cancer. All we knew was that this organisation could make a difference. It could fight a disease which seemed to follow us around like a shadow…. Continue reading “Glenys' Appeal”

Blue September – thank you for getting blue for cancer in men

A great big blue thank you for Blue September 2010

The Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF) wishes to thank everyone who supported Blue September 2010.

We are especially grateful for the support from all our fabulous fundraisers who organised numerous events across Australia at their workplace, at school, and in their communities.

Ranging from blue morning teas and blue dress days, to blue BBQs and blue footy matches, our supporters were a driving force in promoting the health of the men in our lives throughout September.

Thank you also to all the Blue September corporate partners and ambassadors for their tremendous support and for making a vital contribution to the fight against cancer in men.

Blue September is a national awareness campaign promoting men’s health, encouraging prevention and early detection of the most common cancers in men, while raising funds for vital cancer research. Continue reading “Blue September – thank you for getting blue for cancer in men”