University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering researchers will soon begin supplying scientists with enough of the scarce breast stem cells, which is believed to be the leading cause of breast cancer tumours to be analysed in the quest for a cure for breast cancer.

That breakthrough comes after biomedical engineering PhD candidate Benjamin Youn developed a successful process to grow a potentially unlimited supply of breast cancer stem cells in the lab. It is done by adapting bioreactor technology used previously for protein production to reproduce the stem cells.

Ultimately it could lead to the development of more effective drugs and treatments for the disease which kills more than 5,000 Canadian women annually.

Biomedical engineer Dr. Leo Behie said the development is one part of a multi-disciplinary approach to try to combat the disease which strikes one- in-nine women in Canada.

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