Monday, March 30, 2009

Adult stem cells put to breast use – both cancer and cosmetic

Yet another ASC good-news story. The regenerative capacity of our own 'adult stem cells' has been proven in such areas as healing chronic wounds of skin or bone. Partly this relates to the stem cells stimulating new blood vessel growth, partly to their generating new connective tissue cells.


This reports a more 'out there' role of ASCs in regenerating fat and connective tissue in breasts. As always, the mice get first trial of the therapies, but now we have formal medical trials in Europe of ASCs to regenerate defects after breast surgery (Dr Weiler-Mithoff is 'impressed with the results') and less formal cosmetic trials in supplementing small breasts (Prof Mokbel of the London Breast Institute says 'This is a very exciting advance').


And without labouring the point, remember that these ASC trials are genuine stem cell transplants, whereas any so-called "trial of embryonic stem cells" must first ensure there is not a single embryonic stem cell within cooey, for the fear of them causing the inevitable tumours... ASCs, by contrast, are safe and reliable for direct therapy in you or me. Which would you prefer under your skin??


Here is the media report, and some excerpts. Medical journal articles will be posted as they become available.


Stem cells to grow bigger breasts

Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor

From The Sunday Times

March 29, 2009



A trial has already started in Britain to use stem cells to repair the breasts of women who have had cancerous lumps removed. A separate project is understood to be the first in Britain to use the new technique on healthy women seeking breast enlargement.


The cells will be isolated from a woman's spare fat, once it has been extracted from her thighs or stomach. The concentrated stem cells will then be mixed with another batch of fat before being injected into the breast. It takes several months for the breast to achieve the desired size and shape.


Professor Kefah Mokbel, a consultant breast surgeon at the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace hospital, who is in charge of the project, will treat 10 patients from May. He predicts private patients will be able to pay for the procedure within six months at a cost of about £6,500.


*This is a very exciting advance in breast surgery,* said Mokbel.


Until now, when fat was transplanted to the breast without extra stem cells, surgeons had difficulty maintaining a blood supply to the new tissue. Surgeons believe the double concentration of stem cells under this technique promotes the growth of blood vessels to ensure a sufficient blood supply circulates to the transplanted fat.


The same technique has been used in Japan for six years, initially to treat women with breast deformities caused by cancer treatment and, more recently, for cosmetic breast augmentation in healthy women.


Eva Weiler-Mithoff, a consultant plastic surgeon at Canniesburn hospital in Glasgow, is leading the British arm of a European trial of stem cell therapy for women who have been left with breast deformities following removal of cancerous lumps.


So far more than a dozen British cancer patients have been treated and Weiler-Mithoff is impressed with the results. She does not believe this justifies offering the treatment to healthy women, however.