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Melbourne innovation offers new solution for mastectomy patients

Melbourne innovation offers new solution for mastectomy patients

16 April 2010

A Melbourne innovation to regrow breast tissue after a mastectomy is edging closer to realisation, with international stem cell pioneer Dr Peter Mountford appointed to drive the research, development and commercialisation of the technique.

Developed at Melbourne’s O’Brien Institute, ‘Neopec’ is a process that uses the breast cancer patient’s own fat cells to build a breast that looks and feels like the other breast.

Neopec aims to provide a solution that is simpler and more natural than tissue transplants or silicone implants, with the first human trials expected to begin at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital before the middle of 2010.

Dr Mountford, who co-founded Australia’s first private stem cell research company, has been appointed CEO of Neopec, bringing his years of research experience and expertise to the project.

Chairman of the Neopec Board, Ms Gillian Franklin, said the company was delighted to appoint Dr Mountford after an international search.

“Neopec is undertaking world leading research and it is exciting and appropriate that we have attracted someone of Peter’s calibre and experience to bring this to reality,” Ms Franklin said.

Neopec involves implanting a biodegradable synthetic chamber, which is then surgically connected to blood vessels linked to fat cells in the patient’s underarm.

In the next four to six months, the fat grows into the shape of the chamber, which dissolves when the new breast is formed.

Where there is insufficient fat, the Neopec consortium is also developing a special gel called Myogel, a muscle-derived product that stimulates fat deposition.

Neopec's breast reconstruction project is supported by the Victorian Government via a $2.95 million grant under Victoria's Science Agenda (VSA) Investment Fund. The $41 million VSA Investment Fund is supporting market driven collaborative projects that develop science and technology-based solutions.

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