AKRON (March 10, 2010)—An effort to develop a safer, gentler prosthetic breast has been boosted with the award of more than $330,000 from two health care research sources.
The research team striving to develop a biocompatible nanocomposite as an alternative to traditional silicone rubber implants—led by Judit E. Puskas, professor of polymer science at the University of Akron—received $231,725 from the National Cancer Institute and U.S. National Institutes of Health last month.
Puskas also attained $100,000 from the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron to support the research.
The breast prosthesis being developed is a soft and transparent thermoplastic elastomer implant with an antimicrobial coating to prevent infections. The new generation material and coating ideally will improve implant function and healing.
Puskas became involved in the research into an improved solution after learning of the 30-percent failure rate of silicone gel implants because of ruptures, leakages and capsular contracture. During the project, the research team plans to synthesize the nanocomposite at a lab-batch scale; evaluate its thermal, physical and mechanical properties; and establish its in vitro biocompatibility.
“The ultimate goal of this research and development effort is to create prototype breast implants and prostheses for (Food and Drug Administration) approval,” Puskas said.