Stem cells that would be implanted under a biodegradable chamber or form in the breast region, attached to a blood supply coming from the woman's armpit and stimulated to grow using a liquid solution.
The hopes are that within 4 to 6 months, enough fat tissue would develop in the form of the breast contour of the chamber to resemble the woman's breast. The potential benefit for a procedure like this ranges from reconstruction treatment after mastectomy for breast cancer, to therapy for any severe physical defect after disfiguring trauma, to even cosmetic/elective breast augmentation.
For breast cancer patients, at least, this treatment appears to be at least 3 years away, and for elective/cosmetic indications, it is likely a decade away before being readily available. The challenges for regrowing breasts are significant because breast tissue is made of fat, glands and muscle and typically is considered to be hormonally-responsive, in that hormonal stimulation can effect changes in the breast itself.
However, this work is potentially exciting since reconstruction following breast cancer surgery is both physically and psychologically significant. We will follow this area closely and bring you any updates when they are available.