Researchers in Australia are pioneering a new technique to stimulate the body to naturally re-grow breast tissue lost to surgical procedures.
In a recent plastic surgery conference in Sydney, doctors presented experiment results that showed the possibilities of breast reconstruction using he body’s own fat cells as tissue rather than silicone. The procedure has been tested positively on pigs and human trials will proceed in the near future.
How it works is that an empty chamber, or “scaffold,” is implanted and filled with a gel made of the individual patient’s fat cells which will then induce the body to create permanent breast tissue within the confines of the implanted chamber. This use of a biomaterial cage is a revolutionary idea to trap the cells and direct their growth. Future plans for the cage include making it biodegradable to alleviate the necessity for another surgery to have it removed. Professor Anthony Hollander from the University of Bristol in the UK applauded the approach for its simplicity and the fact that the tissue growth occurred inside the body.
Though the potential benefits for cancer patients are huge, experts caution that the technique is far from perfected. Trials are underway to ensure that the procedure will be able to guarantee that all cancer cells have been removed from the area and the tissue gel used in the chamber. Dr. Lesley Walker, the director of Cancer Research UK said the procedure was, “at such an early stage, it is not clear whether it will work in people. Even if this surgery proves to be effective, it will be a number of years before it can be used in the clinic.” Even though use of the procedure is still in the future, the excitement of finding a way to prevent women from going through the trauma of mastectomy surgeries is well worth the wait.