Breast implants are usually associated with self-improvement and enhancement but breast implants may soon be adapted to also serve a valuable, even life-changing, purpose according to new research taking place at two US universities. The aim of one piece of research is to develop a breast implant which can prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, while the other is attempting to produce an implant with the ability to deter, or even perhaps detect, cancer cells in the breast.
Biomedical scientists at Brown University have developed an implant with a surface that prevents cancer cells from living, growing and advancing. This “bed of nails” surface which has microscopic “pimples” is friendly to healthy cells but hostile to cancer cells. The research discovered that these uneven pimples helped healthy cells to grow up to 15% more than a smooth surface. The hope is that this new technology can be trialled on a human sample in the next few years.
Another team of scientists at the University of Akron are also developing a breast implant, one that would help detect and even destroy cancer cells. This implant would contain medication in the implants’ polymer material which would be delivered to help fight infection, reduce inflammation and possibly even target and destroy cancer cells. This would be of particular importance to women recovering from a mastectomy and facing breast reconstruction.
Dr. Steven P. Schmidt suggests: “the ability to locally target drug delivery has the potential to dramatically improve the course of treatment for breast cancer patients.”
The popularity of breast implantation and augmentation has never been greater and breast cancer is a concern for all women. This new innovation, if able to combine the growing appeal of implants with the possibility of cancer-fighting implant technology would obviously be a great achievement in the fight against cancer.