01 January 2019 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Biomaterials engineering
    • Biological system engineering
    • Biomaterials engineering
    • Biomechanical engineering
    • Other (bio)medical engineering
    • Environmental engineering and biotechnology
    • Industrial biotechnology
    • Other biotechnology, bio-engineering and biosystem engineering
breast reconstruction
Project description

The development of biomaterials for adipose regeneration has gained increasing attention as a
result of the exponential growth of adipose tissue reconstructions performed in health care. In
addition to cosmetic considerations, these reconstructions are also attempted for women
undergoing lumpectomies after breast cancer treatment, which is highly relevant as breast cancer is
the most prominent cancer striking women worldwide. Recently, an increasing interest has emerged
from material engineers to develop materials for adipose tissue engineering and breast
reconstruction in particular, addressing the existing limitations. New biomaterial-related approaches
should ideally aim for a more predictable outcome, an improved cost-effectiveness and minimal
invasiveness. It is exactly there that the current proposal will come into play by combining (1) 3Dprinting
to enable patient-specific breast reconstruction paving the way towards esthetically elegant
solutions for cancer patients, (2) biodegradable shape memory polymers to replace the currently
used invasive, artificial expander, (3) peptide-based hydrogels encapsulating autologous adipose
tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells and capable of supporting their viability and differentiation
towards adipocytes for injection into the 3D-printed shape memory scaffolds. The project outcome
will give rise to a paradigm shift in the clinic towards minimally invasive patient-specific breast
reconstruction using biodegradable smart polymers.