Female sex hormones can help in the treatment of Breast Cancer, scientists have discovered.

Progesterone has been revealed to lower the growth rate of tumors in patients, a research published on the journal “Nature” revealed. Cambridge University researchers have found out that patients with a particular type of “hormone-driven” breast cancer have higher rates of recovery, revealed ABC Australia.

Progesterone can aid cancer treatment by helping hold back tumor growth via talking to other cell molecules.

“The new study shows how the progesterone receptor ‘talks to’ another receptor sensitive to the hormone estrogen, which fuels breast cancer in a large number of cases…This has the effect of applying a brake on the estrogen receptor’s ability to stimulate tumors,” the News.com.au explained.

A new technique of reading DNA was established to find out how the estrogen receptors attach to DNA.

“We then compared these maps in breast cancer cells grown with and without progesterone. This revealed how the ‘switched on’ progesterone receptor redirects the estrogen receptor to different DNA regions — switching on a different set of genes that slow down cell growth,” Dr. Jason Carroll of the Cambridge University’s Cancer Research Institute explained.

The development was aided by a discovery made by University of Adelaide researchers in keeping breast cancer cells alive. Up until the recent discovery, cancer cells were usually submerged in plastic or tested on animals during researches, ABC noted.

The recent discovery makes use of simple wound dressings and sponges from dentists to help the cells survive.

“Traditionally, breast cancer tumors are destroyed once they have been removed from a patient. The new technique we have developed sees tumor cells from participating patients ‘rescued’ for research purposes,” Professor Wayne Tilley, from the University of Adelaide’s Dame Roma Mitchell Centre, said.

“By taking this sponge, which contains a number of factors that promote viability of the cells, the tumour cells seem to like this and their viability and growth is maintained over a period of time in the laboratory.”

The discovery will be a “vital research tool” in the research and development of cancer treatment in the medical field.