At Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers have announced the results of an important study showing that high levels of estrogen in the mother during pregnancy can increase a daughter's susceptibility to breast cancer later on. Specifically, the BRCA1 gene is disabled in an estrogen-rich environment, preventing it from carrying out its DNA repair tasks and leaving an opening for cancerous cells to grow. The research was presented at the 2013 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting by Dr. Leena Hilakivi-Clarke (right). The Hilakivi-Clarke Lab is on the same floor of the Research Building as that of Dr. Robert Clarke, who collaborated on the study; the Clarkes both carry out hormone-related cancer research, and Robert Clarke is the Dean for Research at the Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC).
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Researchers say they may have made a science research breakthrough in the fight against cancer by discovering how to keep tumor cells alive in the lab. Up until recently, scientists haven’t been able to keep cells alive in a way where they look and act like they would in the body. Doctors previously had to freeze or set in wax biopsied tissue to make a diagnosis.