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Feminist News


Scientists Grow Breast Tissue From Patient's Own Cells

Great Britain's Times newspaper reported Sunday that scientists at the U.S. company Reprogenesis have successfully grown nipples and associated breast tissue using human cells and expect to create whole breast implants in the next five years.

The nipples were created using fat and blood vessel cells from the buttock or thigh. These cells were grown on pre-shaped scaffolding made of polymer plastic with the help of growth factors that promote cell division. The cells grew rapidly until the scaffolding was full and the tissue was complete.

Reprogenesis will begin transplanting nipples on patients sometime next year. Since the nipples are created from the patient's own cells, there is no chance that the patient's body will "reject" the tissue, as often happens when tissue from another individual is donated.

The "living tissue" implants will be available for women seeking breast reconstruction after surgery as well as for cosmetic purposes. Researchers hope that these implants will constitute a safer alternative to dangerous silicone implants, which have been linked to lupus, rhumatoid arthritis, and other diseases of the immune system.

Media Resources: Reuters - January 4, 1998