Breast reconstruction using your own cells

A new approach to breast reconstruction
A new approach to breast reconstruction

Researchers in Melbourne will trial a new procedure to reconstruct breasts in patients following mastectomy. The procedure will use the women’s own stem cells instead of silicon.

Focusing on the treatment and recovery of women with breast cancer, the new technique known as Neopec involves the insertion of a customised biodegradable chamber which is contoured to match the woman’s natural breast shape. The chamber acts as a scaffold within which the woman’s own stem cells are used to grow permanent breast fat tissue.

Where there is insufficient fat, researchers intend to develop Myogel, a muscle-derived tissue that induces fat tissue production—a safer and more natural alternative to silicon.

The Australian Tissue Engineering Centre will lead the project in partnership with Anatomics, Cogentum, O’Brien Institute, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, The University of Melbourne and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Tissue Bank.

Breast cancer patients can experience a range of physical limitations and psychosocial problems following the surgery. Increased self-esteem following breast reconstruction was an important factor in recovery from breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Australia with 13,600 new cases expected this year.

The project is part of the Victorian Government’s $41 million Victoria’s Science Agenda Investment Fund announced in November 2009.

For more information: Victorian Department of Innovation, Industry & Regional Development, Vivien Ellard, Tel: +61 (3) 9651 9259,