Two types of breast implants are in development to potentially detect and ward off the growth of cancer cells, according to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
One of the implants is lined with microscopic raised bumps on the surface that have been shown to improve healthy tissue growth and act as a “bed-of-nails” to cancer cells, says researchers at Brown University.
The tiny “pimples” that were just 23 nanometers, appear to discourage cancer cells from dwelling on the implants, while 15 percent more healthy breast cells thrived there. Clinical trials may be under way within five years.
The other implant has a medication embedded in it that fights infection and inflammation, and detects and kills cancer cells, according to research at the University of Akron. It’s been under development for seven years, and because it is made of a polymer material, the implant may be less prone to leakage.
For women undergoing breast reconstruction after mastectomy, this type of implant that seeks and destroys rogue cancer cells may provide some much-needed peace of mind. Of course, time has yet to tell if these implants are a real possibility.
“It is really experimental and may be of benefit some day,” says Eugene, OR, plastic surgeon, Mark Jewell, MD. “Breast implants are not envisioned as drug delivery devices, but as something that is inserted after there is control of the breast cancer.”