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BMBS COST Action B20
Mammary Gland development, Function and Cancer

The main objective of COST B20 was to apply fundamental science and new technologies to the study of mammary gland function in normal and disease condition, resulting in the generation of new therapeutics protocols, in the interpretation of epidemiological data on breast cancer and mammary gland infections, in the development of sustainable, welfare-friendly agriculture. A second objective was to promote exchanges between the research groups in the areas of (1) mammary gland development, function and neoplasia and (2) milk components, nutrition and health. Action B20’s scientific output extends knowledge of mammary biology and breast cancer, more specifically on * the cellular components of the tissue which have been definitively characterised * the nature and function of mammary stem cells, * the intracellular signalling mechanisms, especially those involved in control of the cell population by apoptosis. COST B20 succeeded on the quality of science it attracted in its membership and to its meetings, which may be difficult to bench-mark, but may be evident in the size of audiences attracted to the Action’s meeting, in the willingness of eminent scientists to engage with the Action, and in the readiness of other organisations to hold meetings jointly with the Action. A major asset of the Action was its ability to create a truly inter-disciplinary forum encompassing themes as diverse as the mammary immune response, the epidemiology of breast cancer risk, the genetic indicators of cancer prognosis, the basis in intracellular signalling of breast cancer aetiology, and the role of diet, and dietary components in disease prevention and complementary therapy. COST B20 provided a bridge between animal scientists and networks of clinical scientists and epidemiologists, from both academia and industry and managed to create the multi-centre “Mammary Proteome” initiative, which will apply proteomics to characterise normal and diseased mammary phenotypes. A substantial publication record, including some 60 joint papers by Action members, demonstrates direct and productive collaboration. Action B20 has catalysed the translation of informal collaboration into EU-funded projects, like a successful Fr V Research Training Network (RTN) on “Mammary Development Mechanisms and their Relation to Breast Cancer Progression” and a Fr VI RTN on “Mammary Cell Biology and Gene Expression”); other examples of collaborative projects include nationally-funded projects from France, Austria, Hungary and Sweden. Overall, COST B20 has met its initial aims, has adapted to focus strongly on breast cancer, and has retained engagement of the animal scientists who founded the Action. It achieved training and scientific innovation, aims which will be further realized as knowledge disseminates across academic networks and into commercial practice. The one tangible outcome is the emergence of a strong scientific community in “mammary biology”, embracing both founder countries and laboratories, and also new members, in many cases in new member states of the Union, attracted by the quality and vitality of the network’s science.

(Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.)

General Information*

Chair of the Action:

Prof Antonella BALDI (IT)

Science officer of the Action:


Administrative officer of the Action:

Ms Gabriela CRISTEA


Action Fact Sheet

Download AFS as .RTF


* content provided by e-COST.
Data is synchronised once per night.


Last updated: 02 May 2011 top of page