Milk cells provide new insight into the lactating breast

  • News
  • 28 Jan. 2022

Breast tissue samples from pregnant and lactating women are hard to come by, making it difficult to understand the dynamic changes that happen in the human mammary gland during lactation. Until now. 

A team of scientists has found a novel way to view the tissue remodeling and rebuilding taking place – by examining mammary cells found in breastmilk. What they uncovered is essential to understanding normal mammary gland function, which in turn impacts work on low milk supply and breast cancer research.

See their groundbreaking work here, just published open access in Nature Communications ('Transcriptional changes in the mammary gland during lactation revealed by single cell sequencing of cells from human milk').

We are proud to have lent support to this work with a Trainee Bridge Fund (TBF) research grant from the ISRHML – Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Trainee Expansion Program (TEP).

“The TBF grant I was awarded in 2017 enabled me to launch this work and further my aspiration to gain greater understanding of the lactating breast and how milk is produced”, says lead researcher and author Dr Alecia-Jane Twigger, Research Associate, WTK laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge.

Check here to learn more about TEP award opportunities for early career academics. Applications open 1 August 2022.