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Scientists Hope to Re-Grow Human Breasts

Tests carried out on pigs have given Australian scientists hope that they will be able to re-grow women's breasts lost to cancer.

According to a report by CBS News partner network Sky News, researchers at the Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery in Melbourne have been developing a technique to re-grow fat tissue underneath the breast.

Scientists implant a chamber underneath the skin and then connect a blood vessel to the tissue that enables it to grow in six to eight months.

The doctors hope to create a biodegradable chamber that dissolves inside the body after it fills up, a process which should take about 24 months.

"Nature abhors a vacuum, so the chamber itself, because it is empty, it tends to be filled-in by the body," Dr. Marzella told Sky.

Thus far, tests have only been conducted on pigs. Researchers are looking into possible clinical trials on women who have had mastectomies, according to the report.

"We are starting what is called a prototype in the next three to six months-a proof of principle trial with about five to six women, just to demonstrate that the body can re-grow its own fat supply in the breast," the institute's Dr. Phillip Marzella told Sky.

The procedure would be a new alternative to breast implants.

CBS News medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton reports that the procedure could be ready for use in humans in just three years, and that within 10 years, it may be commonplace enough to be used in cosmetic enhancement surgeries.

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