Studying Bones and Seashells for Breast Cancer Research

A Cornell University interdisciplinary collaboration used a materials science approach to fingerprint the calcium mineral deposits, microcalcifications, that reveal pathological clues to the progression of breast cancer and potentially other diseases. Watch this video to see what they learned — pathological breast calcification signatures reflect the tumor microenvironment and correlate with cancer severity.

“Usually after the initial mammogram, microcalcifications are largely ignored. And what we’re saying is we can look beyond the resolution of the mammogram, at the microscopic and chemical level, and get more information from these microcalcifications,” said co-senior author Lara Estroff , professor of materials science and engineering in Cornell Engineering.