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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFemale Reproductive SystemFertilizationThe Appearance of SomitesFirst TrimesterSecond TrimesterThird TrimesterFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterDevelopmental Timeline
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July 25, 2012--------News Archive Return to: News Alerts

Researchers compared breast cancer cell lines that were highly metastatic and cell lines from normal breast tissue. By inhibiting RhoC, they found that RhoC is needed to cause metastasis in both cell lines, and that RhoC over expression alone can cause metastasis.

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Driver of Breast Cancer Stem Cell Metastasis Found

Researchers have found a cancer gene linked to aggressive spread of the disease promotes breast cancer stem cells and implies a new way to target the behavior of these lethal cells

The research was conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and involves the cancer gene RhoC, which has previously been shown to promote metastasis of many types of cancer.

RhoC levels increase as breast cancer progresses
and high levels of RhoC are associated
with worse patient survival.

Cancer stem cells are the small number of cells within a tumor that are believed to fuel the tumor’s growth and spread. Researchers believe traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments often become ineffective because they do not kill the cancer stem cells, and that the key to future treatments is to develop drugs that target and kill these cells.

This new study, which appears online in PLoS ONE, suggests a new way to get at the cancer stem cells.

“Targeting the specific molecular cogs driving the cancer stem cell machinery responsible for the cancer spreading
has potential for future treatments.

Eliminating cancer stem cells may ultimately
be necessary to cure certain cancers,
but in the meantime, we may be able to manage
the cancer stem cell population
and the invasive behaviors of these cells
by disrupting the molecular machinery,
using RhoC as a target,”

Sofia D. Merajver, M.D., Ph.D.

says senior study author Sofia D. Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Michigan and scientific director of the breast oncology program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The researchers looked at breast cancer cell lines that were highly metastatic and cell lines from normal breast tissue. By inhibiting or overexpressing RhoC, they found that RhoC expression is necessary to cause metastasis in both cell lines, and that RhoC overexpression alone can cause metastasis. The researchers also tested this in mice and had similar results.

Merajver’s lab, in conjunction with other U-M researchers,
is studying a novel small molecule drug to inhibit RhoC,
which has shown promising initial results in the laboratory.

The researchers are continuing to develop this inhibitor,
which will require several years of additional testing in the
laboratory before potentially advancing to clinical trials.

Breast cancer statistics: 229,060 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 39,920 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society

Additional authors: Devin T. Rosenthal, Jie Zhang, Liwei Bao, Lian Zhu, Zhifen Wu, Kathy Toy and Celina G. Kleer, all from U-M

Funding: Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BC083262); National Institutes of Health (T32-GM07315); Burroughs Wellcome Fund; Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Disclosure: None

Reference: PLoS ONE, Vol. 7, No. 7, July 2012, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040979

Original article: http://www.uofmhealth.org/news/cancer-rhoc-0724