Tissue homeostasis is a highly integrated and coordinated process involving both, tissue- and organ-specific functions via expression of a characteristic set of genes and in parallel tissue renewal via cell proliferation and differentiation and cell elimination via programmed cell death (apoptosis). The epithelial compartment of the mammary gland undergoes a massive proliferation during pregnancy followed by milk protein gene expression during lactation. Milk production ceases after weaning and a majority of secretory epithelial cells in the gland is gradually removed by programmed cell death. These processes are massively disturbed in breast cancer. Our work deals with a molecular characterization by gene expression profiling of normal and various transformed mammary epithelial cells using DNA chips. One focus of our work relates to the transfer of results obtained in the lab back into a clinical context (from bench to bedside). More details about our projects including a summary of the possibilities related to DNA chip experiments in Bern are available at http://www.molbiol.dbmr.unibe.ch and http://www.tumorbank.unibe.ch.
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