breasts: the wave of the future

breasts: the wave of the future

breast cancer may be on the rise (according to wired, 105 per 100,000 women in 1975 to 125 per 100,000 today), but so are survival rates (75 percent of women diagnosed in 1975 lived at least five more years, compared with 90 percent today), which means more women will live longer after having a lump- or mastectomy. of the total amount of women forced to have a disfiguring procedure, only 30 percent are offered a consultation with a plastic surgeon. those diagnosed with breast cancer may only have tumors in one breast, yet 29 percent will opt to have both breasts removed. only 25 percent of survivors will get new breasts.

a new technology, though, has made it possible to grow new breasts with raw materials harvested from your own body fat. but this new stem cell research can do more than just grow new boobies. the surgeons and researchers behind this regenerative medicine are claiming that this method can also treat chronic heart disease, heart attacks, kidney injury as a result of cancer therapy, even incontinence after a prostatectomy. all this has only been tested on rats, but san diego-based biotech company cytori hopes that it can get a patent to start regenerating human breast tissue first out of all the miracles 10 years of studies have helped fuel.

why start at breasts? besides giving breast cancer patients an alternative to reconstruction surgery, human breast tissue isn’t as necessary to one’s body as, say, a heart or kidney, “so the bar for proving to regulators that the technology works will be lower.” not to mention the fact that there is some serious business to be had (unfortunately) in the land of breast augmentation, proving it will be profitable; in 2009 alone $964 million was spent on boob jobs, making the procedure the most popular in plastic surgery in the u.s.

scientists have found stem cells in fat tissue surrounding the hips, thighs, abdomen, and flabby upper arms in such quantities that it isn’t even necessary to culture them in petri dishes to get a large enough supply; there is roughly one adipose stem cell per 100 fat cells. “we realized that although the cells could make bone, what they were really good at was making a new blood supply,” says plastic surgeon marc hedrick. “we felt like if we could target that, it would be the key to every ischemic disease,” in which tissue dies for want of an adequate blood supply—and therefore oxygen. “that led us to reconfigure the company to investigate using the cells for heart attack patients.”

hedrick thought if adipose stem cells could yank heart tissue back from death’s door by restoring blood flow, maybe the cells could keep other tissue alive and healthy. the radiation that women typically undergo after lumpectomy or mastectomy, for instance, damages the surviving tissue and destroys the local blood supply. “the tissue gets hard, and that makes it difficult to reconstruct or put an implant in,” cytori ceo chris calhoun says. and thus the idea of using adipose stem cells to reconstruct the breast was born.

but don’t go thinking that this procedure is growing breast tissue. the cells in the celution mixture these scientists are creating provide the volume in the breast, “filling the divot in the lumpectomy, the missing quadrant in the quadrantectomy, or the empty skin pouch in the mastectomy.”

fingers crossed breast cancer survivors’ insurance will cover such a procedure.

Tags Posted under boobs can do that?, breast cancer, breastistics, Featured, really? by admin

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