Around 1 in 5 breast cancer patients will develop lymphoedema in the arm after surgery involving removal of lymph nodes. Lymphoedema is a chronic, incurable condition which causes localised swelling of tissue as a result of abnormal lymphatic drainage. It is a debilitating condition that can cause significant physiological and psychological trauma. The device under development will be implanted in place of surgically removed nodes to restore lymph flow and hopefully prevent the formation of lymphoedema. The implant contains a hydrogel encapsulating the lymphangiogenic growth factor VEGF-C, which is released by two time-dependent mechanisms. The combination of the release profiles provide a prolonged release of VEGF-C, encouraging lymphatic vessels to reconnect.
Image: Implant Design, the hydrogel containing VEGF-C is shown in blue