Home / Doctor Speaks  / Tissue Engineering Sparks New Hope For Breast Cancer Survivors

Tissue Engineering Sparks New Hope For Breast Cancer Survivors

By Srinjoy Saha, Plastic Surgeon, Apollo 24|7 Breast cancer is not just deadly in itself, even those brave women who survive, go through a lot of mental and physical trauma on account of the treatment.

  • By Srinjoy Saha, Plastic Surgeon, Apollo 24|7

Breast cancer is not just deadly in itself, even those brave women who survive, go through a lot of mental and physical trauma on account of the treatment. Breast cancer surgeries often involve the partial or complete removal of the tumorised breast. This often leaves the survivor with a lot of pain caused by their altered anatomy.

WHO data shows that 2.3 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer in a single year, with a staggering 6,85,000 deaths across the globe. In India, breast cancer accounted for 13.5% of all cancer cases and resulted in 10.6% of cancer related deaths. In most breast cancers, the cancer-affected breast needed extensive surgical removal. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed afterward to destroy the remaining cancer cells.


Unfortunately, radiotherapy and surgery often destroy the blood supply to the remaining skin and soft-tissues over the chest region of all heroic cancer survivors. Terrible ulcers form over these regions that do not heal even after repeated treatments. Sometimes, the brave cancer survivors have to run from pillar to post for relief, and often without much success.

But a new advanced treatment model  is now  gaining ground in biomedicine,  known as tissue engineering. Being at the confluence of cutting edge medical science,  engineering, and advanced biology, tissue engineering has taken the world by storm and has roused the interest of many leading doctors and scientists.

What is 3D Tissue Engineering and how does it help?

Tissue engineering is a sub-domain of reconstructive surgery and biomedical engineering.  It refers to the unique and advanced method of developing new tissues in the body by combining body cells, tissue scaffolds, and activated growth factors.

Radiation therapy, which is the usual treatment after surgery for cancers, destroys even the normal cells and tissues surrounding a cancerous tissue. After radiation, normal tissue breaks up and the blood circulation to these tissues is cut off, forming gaping ulcers on large areas of the skin that do not heal well.

Traditionally, flap surgery used to be performed that involved several cuts and stitches over the normal areas of the body. It was associated with pain, long hospitalisation, long-duration surgeries, and high overall costs. But now, an attractive advanced treatment changes all that.

Through  a tissue scaffold, we  are able to migrate cells from the normal areas of the body  to the  affected area, aided by growth factors. Thus, new tissues and cells get created to heal major body defects

Benefits of Tissue Engineering

Tissue engineering or 3D bioengineering has several crucial advantages over conventional flap-surgeries  and implant-based approaches.  Some of them are :

  • No risk of rejection: Since tissue engineering uses cells from the patient’s body, the organ thus created does not get rejected by the body since the organ is created from the patient’s cell. Therefore, organs created using tissue engineering have no incidences of rejection.
  • No implants needed: Tissue engineering has successfully replaced implants as a viable option in many patients, and especially for breast cancer survivors.  Reconstructive  surgeries using tissue engineering principles result in normal tissues and last a lifetime.
  • Short hospitalisation: Because the developed tissue is from the patient’s own body, the tissue merges with the rest of the body eventually. It requires a shorter hospital stay and short surgeries which are less painful, allowing patients to resume normal work quickly. .

What Kind of Patients Can Benefit From Tissue Engineering? 

Apart from breast cancer survivors, there are a lot of patients that will benefit from tissue engineering once the technology matures and reaches the masses. Here are some of the patients that have already benefited from tissue engineering:

  • Cosmetic treatment patients : People who want cosmetic procedures to develop the look they always wanted stand to benefit tremendously.  Applying tissue engineering principles that improve upon the original skin condition  matches the skin texture and tone perfectly.


  • Road accident  victims: The life and quality of life for road accident  victims are enhanced tremendously with tissue engineering.  The patient regains  original looks and composition of the body and  a near-normal restoration  in function of the affected body part(s).
  • Skin cancer patients: Patients with long exposure to the sun often develop skin cancers. After a wide removal of skin cancers and surrounding body areas, tissue engineering regenerates new normal tissues with short surgeries that allow the patient to heal well.
  • Organ transplant patients: The most needful perhaps, the patients in need of an organ replacement will be benefited the most by tissue engineering as the technology reaches mass adoption, millions of lives can be saved by developing tissue-engineered organs.

Future Outlook

As more research is conducted in the fields of tissue engineering, new medical breakthroughs are going to change the lives of countless patients around the world. Tissue engineering offers solutions to solve fundamental medical challenges that if embraced effectively, could redefine the medical practices on a whole.

Currently, we are performing advanced treatments that are considered to be the best in the world. Hundreds of our patients have already gone home fit and well, one perfect regenerative surgery at a time. Staying well ahead of the curve, we work hard to deliver the best of care and advanced treatments to all our patients.






Review overview