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Women in Science!

posted Oct 3, 2015, 1:46 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Oct 3, 2015, 1:53 AM ]
Another nice luncheon with the Women in Science was held in Montreux yesterday, with the speaker, Dr Cathrin Brisken from the ISREC/EPFL, talking about 'Hormones: keys to breast cancer prevention and treatment' and impressing the audience with some short vignettes on research from her lab.  They even do special explant studies, for direct and well-controlled comparisons of mutant and wild type tissues (an estrogen receptor mutant example was shown)!  The history of BPA was quite well-presented for the general audience.  Now the third largest produced chemical in the world and often used in plastics production, BPA was actually first synthesized in an attempt to reproduce estrogen!  The first rule of medicine, to 'do no harm' was clearly violated, when a related compound was given during pregnancy, with the ultimate and clear induction of vaginal cancer in teenagers, and it is small wonder that the broad use of this hormone mimetic substance (and its highly publicised ban - that may or may not have led to any reduction in risks) have led to such uproar…  

Dr. Brisken's summary included the point that not only should early development be very carefully protected, but that this is just one example of very common compounds increasing risk of disease!  

Because of the BPA structure, could there furthermore be impacts of BPA and related compounds on genomic integrity?  As discussed previously here (scroll down to the section on 'small doses with big effects'), data on mutagenicity and DNA damage from BPA remains controversial…
Hoping such events encourage more research and inspire some of the younger members in the audience (even some teachers brought their students!) to become future women in science!