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Sympathetic nervous system and breast cancer progression

Project Collaborators:

Dr. Ania Majewska

Image of Sympathetic nerves

Sympathetic nerves (green) associated with blood vessels (red) in a breast tumor growing
in a mammary fat pad of a SCID mouse. Using standard immunofluorescent staining techniques,
blood vessels were detected with anti-CD31 and sympathetic noradrenergic nerves were detected
with anti-tyrosine hydroxylase.(40X)

Women diagnosed with breast cancer experience chronic stress, but the impact of such stress on tumor development is not well understood. We explore the role of an important stress pathway, sympathetic nervous system release of norepinephrine and epinephrine, in tumor growth and metastasis.

Currently, we are focusing on the interplay between collagen fiber internal structure as reported by SHG, and tumor innervation. These experiments take advantage of the advanced imaging capabilities of multiphoton laser scanning microscopy (MPLSM). Ultimately, understanding how a stress pathway influences tumor growth and progression will open the door to therapeutic options targeting the sympathetic nervous system. We hope to use this understanding to develop more effective therapies in breast cancer.

Image of Tumor vasculature

Tumor vasculature revealed by
two photon laser scanning microscopy


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