Anti Prolactin as a Preventative Drug
The hormones, progesterone and prolactin control the growth of the normal breast ready for milk production at the end of pregnancy. Both are also known to increase the risk of breast cancer but little is known about how these hormones work together in the normal breast.
In the lab, the team will create samples of cells using a culture method – a technique where cell samples are replicated in a controlled environment without the need to gather more samples from an individual.
The samples will then be stimulated with one or both hormones. We will explore in more detail how progesterone and prolactin signal together within the normal breast. Specifically, we will look at the different types of cells in the breast, including the stem like cells that breast cancer is thought to develop in.
What happens in each cell will then be compared against one another as well as against those cells that have not been stimulated by the hormone(s). This will mean that the team will be able to see how the breast cells behave depending on what hormones they have received.
Using this model in combination with tissue samples from a pilot prevention trial in which women at increased risk of breast cancer received an anti-progestin we hope to discover whether targeting prolactin may improve breast cancer prevention in some women. This could provide a more tailored approach and develop novel, well tolerated approaches to breast cancer prevention.