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ImplantInfo Reports New Research from Brown University Turns Breast Implants into Cancer Fighters


Since the 1960s, breast implants have been used to augment what Nature shortchanged and, in the case of cancer or traumatic injury, replace what has been removed. But now researchers have found a new use for breast implants —as a line of defense against cancer.

Park City, UT (PRWEB) October 26, 2012

Until recently, breast implants have served as a way to make a woman's silhouette more attractive or symmetrical. However, the results of a recent study conducted by researchers from Brown University have demonstrated that implants may have another, more important use as a way to deter the growth of cancer cells.

According to news from Brown University, the implant not only reduces the blood vessel architecture needed by breast cancer tumors to grow, but also attracts healthy endothelial cells for breast tissue. Made of FDA-approved polymer, the implants bumpy, bed of nails texture has proved to be a less than hospitable surface for the stiff and less flexible cancer cells. In lab tests, after just one day the surface of the implant showed a 15 percent decrease in the production of the protein VEGF upon which endothelial breast cancer cells depend, compared to an implant surface with no surface modification.

Thomas Webster, Associate Professor of Engineering and the corresponding author on the paper in Nanotechnology, said the implant's features can at least decrease cell functions without chemotherapeutics, radiation, or other cancer-killing processes, yet still be friendly to healthy breast cells.

According to the CDC, breast cancer is the second the most common cancer among women in the United States behind non-melanoma skin cancer. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among women of all races and Hispanic origin populations.

The next stage in the research is to investigate why the nano-modified surfaces deter malignant breast cells in order to create surface features that yield greater results and to determine whether other materials can be used. Once research is completed and the implant is approved for use by the FDA, it could be a viable option for women who need breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.

The research at Brown University has been funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources.

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