Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What My Disease Looks Like



What a shock, to follow the links on the BBC website to an article about breast cancer researchers at the University of London, and see this lovely image of 3D breast cancer cells that they have made in a test tube. They are using this form of modelling to see how the healthy cells respond to cancerous ones, and may be able to reduce the use of animals in testing the progress of the disease.

"They discovered that one type of cell - myoepithelial cells - from healthy breast tissue can suppress the growth of breast cancer cells, but this ability is absent in cancerous breast myoepithelial cells."

I'm not sure, really, what we're looking at in this image. Is this one cell, a cluster of cancer cells, or one or more of these clever little myoepithelial cells? Either way, all I can think of when I see this image is a nipple. I can't help feeling there must be a figure of speech to describe this resemblance: a form of synecdochic mirroring, perhaps?

2 comments:

Meredith said...

It's quite a beautiful picture, I think. It looks like an inside-out raspberry.

meli said...

It's sort of beautiful and frightening at the same time. Like something you're not meant to see. Reminds me a bit of Harwood's 'Bone Scan'.