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3D Breast reconstruction project ready for human trials

Thursday 22 November 2018

Professor Dietmar Hutmacher and his team from Regenerative Medicine at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT have progressed their revolutionary research to the next stage after six years, set to enter human trials shortly.

The team have developed 3D-printed biodegradable scaffolds, custom measured for each individual patient, which acts as a framework to help cancer patients regrow breast tissue. The scaffold is then implanted into the patient's chest and filled with their own cells and a growth enhancer.

The researchers have had a 100 percent success rate in animal trials, and if the same results can be reproduced in human trials, the lifechanging technology could be available to Australian women affected by breast cancer in just four years.

"I thought, we can do it, but at the same time I knew it was very, very challenging", Professor Hutmacher said.

PA Research Foundation CEO, Damian Topp stated that he was proud the Foundation could provide funding in the early stages of the project, noting the immeasurable difference this would make to women's lives having already endured a battle with breast cancer.

"This technology is a world-first and will truly revolutionize outcomes for women with breast cancer. Reconstructive options for women post-mastectomy have been limited, and highly invasive up until now. We are so excited to have been able to help fund this pioneering breakthrough in medical research"

The 3D printer has also been used to regenerate bone, in a world-first surgery at the PA Hospital last year. Reuben Lichter, the recipient of the 3D-printed tibia bone scaffold is responding well to the procedure 12 months down the track, regaining enough strength to take his first steps.

"It's certainly allowed us to start to think about fixing things that we previously thought were completely not fixable," Dr Michael Wagels said.

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