August 2013 Issue

Pursuing a Cure for Breast Cancer

Researchers at Cornell are investigating the possible role of stem cells in the development of mammary tumors.

Eighty to 90 percent of mammary tumors in cats are cancerous and can spread as rapidly as aggressive breast cancer does in humans. Researchers at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine are hoping to improve treatment of mammary adenocarcinomas, with the long-term goal of a cure. Their pioneering focus: the role of stem cells in the disease. Gerlinde Van de Walle, DVM, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of viral pathogenesis and stem cell biology at Cornell’s Baker Institute for Animal Health, is working to identify adult mammary stem cells (MaSC) in both healthy and malignant feline and canine mammary gland tissues.

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