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Mastectomy Patients Could Regrow Breasts

Updated on January 24, 2016

Australian Scientists Regrow Breasts

November 12, 2009
Australian scientists say they have found a way for women who lose their breasts to cancer to re-grow them within a year. Yes, regrow them.

In Australia mastectomy patients typically wait for years to have tax-payer funded breast implants...that or get by without them. The new method, offered as an alternative by the Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery in Melbourne, is to insert breast-shaped hypoallergenic chambers beneath the skin of the chest where breast tissue normally resides.

The chambers are then seeded with fat stem-cells from the patient and supplied with blood from a nearby blood vessel.

Over time, since "nature abhors a vacuum", the patients body continues to grow fat cells within the chamber. The chamber itself is biodegradable and breaks down as the fat cells fill the void. So far the method has been tried via animal studies, but the institute plans to start human trials next year. Scientists estimate that regrowth for the average patient would be six to eight months.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Saline filled silicone breast implants. Image credit Wikicommons.Silicone gel, silicon breast implants. Image credit Wikicommons.
Saline filled silicone breast implants. Image credit Wikicommons.
Saline filled silicone breast implants. Image credit Wikicommons.
Silicone gel, silicon breast implants. Image credit Wikicommons.
Silicone gel, silicon breast implants. Image credit Wikicommons.

Animal Models

"We have tested it in several animal models so we have done enough testing preclinical to be confident now to take the step with human trials," said Dr Phillip Marzella, the institute's chief operating officer.

"We are starting what is called a prototype trial in the next three to six months -- a proof of principle trial with about five to six women just to demonstrate that the body can regrow its own fat supply in the breast," Marzella told local radio.

The procedure relies almost solely on the body's own tendency to fill voids, however, a gel can also be injected into the shell to stimulate growth.

Human Trials
Initially, trials will involve women with partial mastectomies. Because a partial leaves a defect in symmetry the trials will attempt to regrow tissue in the affected area rather than a whole breast.

Naturally, scientists are looking forward to other organ regeneration.

"We are hoping to move on to other organs using the same principle -- a chamber that protects and contains cells as they grow and as they restore their normal function," said Dr Phillip Marzella.

Breast Implant Replacement

If the trials are successful this method could also replace implantation of saline filled silicone implants or silicone only implants with real breast tissue and fat from the patient's own body.

The upside, of course, is that the process is no more invasive than the mastectomy itself, and there is very little chance of rejection.

From current trials to solely cosmetic replacement (or enlargement) could be as much ten years away if these trials are successful.

Comments

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  • LiamBean profile imageAUTHOR

    LiamBean 

    8 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

    IsadoraPandora: Thanks for reading and I hope you share.

  • IsadoraPandora profile image

    Jocelyn 

    8 years ago from Florida, PCB

    Thanks for posting this Hub! I didn't realize they were doing this. :)

  • LiamBean profile imageAUTHOR

    LiamBean 

    8 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

    Fast: Thanks for reading. I agree, this is a very positive and hopeful development.

  • fastfreta profile image

    Alfreta Sailor 

    8 years ago from Southern California

    Oh my goodness, this is a shock to me to say the least, but a good one. Growing anything but hair and nails, seem to be impossible, but as your explanation shows, it does seem possible. WOW! You did it again, very good hub.

  • LiamBean profile imageAUTHOR

    LiamBean 

    8 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

    TrudyVan: Thanks for reading and please do. I'll find your hub and create a link for it here.

  • TrudyVan profile image

    TrudyVan Curre 

    8 years ago from South Africa

    It really could be the miracle brest cancer survivors are looking for. Thank you so much for sharing. Would it be in order for me to put a direct link of this hub to my inflammary breast cancer hub

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