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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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A Three-dimensional In Vitro Model of Breast Cancer: Toward Replacing the Need for Animal Experiments

Deborah L. Holliday

While the events leading to breast cancer development are not fully understood, a pre-invasive lesion, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), is recognised as the main precursor of invasive disease. Understanding how pre-invasive lesions develop into invasive breast cancer is critical, since currently there is no way of predicting which tumours are likely to progress, leading to unnecessary surgical intervention or chemotherapy. With a lack of good animal models able to mimic DCIS progression in a laboratory setting, there has been a shift toward developing in vitro human models which more accurately represent human disease. By manipulating individual cell populations in these models, we can recapitulate the complex cellular interactions involved in disease progression, an essential step in understanding breast cancer behaviour.