7 million dollars — that's how much the French company Healshape, which is engaged in the creation of implants for breast reconstruction from patients' own cells, managed to attract investment. Clinical trials are planned for the next two years.
In collaboration with the Institute of Molecular Chemistry at the University of Lyon (ICBMS) and LabSkin Creations, a company responsible for 3D skin models, Healshape creates 3d printed implants for breast reconstruction. They typically consist of natural resorbable hydrogel and proprietary biological ink made from natural biomaterials whose composition is close to human tissue. This is why immediately after insertion the patient's own cells from the fat graft can colonize the implant, allowing natural growth of fat tissue and full absorption of the bioprosthesis. The guys claim to be able to safely accelerate the patient's recovery in this way and ensure full physical recovery in just a few months.
If clinical trials are successful, this development will help more than one million women who undergo mastectomies every year, as almost half of all girls diagnosed with cancer undergo breast surgery. Unfortunately, according to official statistics, only 14% choose breast reconstruction, mostly because of fear of repeated surgery, pain or unsatisfactory aesthetic results. That's why Healshape hopes to make a difference.
«Women will recover their own breasts within six to nine months without a trace of bioprosthesis,» says Sophie Brac de la Perrière, co-founder and CEO of Healshape. «Hopefully, it will help them accept the new look and be happy with their bodies again.»
While there's still a long way to go before a complete victory, this round of funding will help accelerate the use of the implant and ultimately change the lives of breast cancer survivors.