3D printing to help breast cancer survivors

Posted: 23/01/2015


TeVido, a biotech start-up company, is developing technology designed to help revolutionise reconstructive plastic surgery for breast cancer survivors. 

Current nipple reconstructive techniques involve surgeons making cuts where the nipple and areola should be and then twisting the tissue to create a nipple, with tattoos applied to give the area a darker skin tone. TeVido’s solution is to use 3D printing technology to create a nipple and breast tissue from a woman’s own fat and skin cells, which can then be used in reconstructive procedures. The use of 3D printing allows them to create a vascular structure that can deliver oxygen to the tissue and keep the cells alive. 

CEO and co-founder, Laura Bosworth, explained that as ‘treatment for breast cancer has got so much better and survival rates are so much better, long term quality of life is becoming increasingly important’, and therefore ‘the need for better breast reconstruction surgery is growing’. 

The company believes it will be able to create a solution that has fewer complications, is more natural in appearance, and more permanent than what is available on the market at the moment. Additionally, Laura Bosworth hopes it will be able to help alleviate some patients’ psychological distress caused by the loss of the nipple and areola.  

TeVido was recently awarded funding from The National Science Foundation and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, and they believe their products could be on the market in the next five years. 

Alison Johnson, senior associate at Penningtons Manches LLP said: “Reactions to losing a breast vary and not all women may want to have breast reconstruction. Every woman’s needs are different. However advancement in technology and therefore a greater range of options being available to women in this situation can, of course, only be a good thing.”


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