In Ireland, Dr Niamh O’Halloran of NUI Galway is using biomaterials to offer natural implants to women who have undergone a mastectomy. The usual silicone breast implants can break down into synthetic chemicals that have unknown safety. Silicone implants also usually require several reoperations over the patient’s lifetime since they are foreign objects to the body, but Dr. O’Halloran’s new biomaterial implants could help resolve those issues, while also creating a more realistic and texturally accurate breast reconstruction.
The biomaterial implants she is working on are made of hydrogels. O’Halloran told Silicon Republic, “My research is in the field of adipose tissue engineering and development of an implant coating composed of fat cells delivered within a biomaterial called a hydrogel, which itself is composed of proteins naturally occurring within the body.”
O’Halloran also sees “the integration of scaffold biomaterials into drug delivery methods in surgical oncology,” as the way of the future for patients