The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant applicants for the 2023 cycle requested a total of nearly $4 million dollars. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic & Translational Research and Clinical Research evaluated nearly 140 grant applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded research grants totaling over $1 million dollars to support nearly 30 plastic surgery research proposals.

ASPS/PSF leadership is committed to continuing to provide high levels of investigator-initiated research support to ensure that plastic surgeons have the needed research resources to be pioneers and innovators in advancing the practice of medicine.

Research Abstracts

Search The PSF database to have easy access to full-text grant abstracts from past PSF-funded research projects 2003 to present. All abstracts are the work of the Principal Investigators and were retrieved from their PSF grant applications. Several different filters may be applied to locate abstracts specific to a particular focus area or PSF funding mechanism.

Adipocyte Derived Stem Cells in Breast Conservation Therapy: Potential Impact on Breast Cancer Regression

Principal Investigator
Ernest Chiu MD, FACS


Tulane University

Funding Mechanism
Basic Research Grant

Focus Area
Breast (Cosmetic/Reconstructive)

Breast cancer affects one in eight women. Patients may undergo a variety of surgical oncologic treatment options including local excision, partial mastectomy, and complete mastectomy. Reconstruction options also vary depending on surgical defect. There are a rapidly growing number of plastic surgeons restoring post-mastectomy defects using fat injection techniques. In any given fat harvest sample site (abdomen, flank, buttock, etc), there is an ample supply of adipocytes. Furthermore, in these same anatomical areas, there is also a subpopulation of adipocyte derived stem cells (ADSC). ADSCs are reported to have potent angiogenic and regenerative properties capable of treating numerous medical and surgical problems. However from a safety standpoint, it is not known whether these beneficial properties of ADSCs for reconstruction could have detrimental effects on any remaining breast cancer cells post-resection, or if ADSCs could promote transformation of normal breast epithelium. The purpose of this simple "proof of principle" study is to investigate the safety of ADSCs when exposed to breast cancer cells. We hypothesize that ADSCs will alter breast cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, and migration all of which may contribute cancer progression and metastasis. The reciprocal effects of cancer cells on ADSCs (i.e. cancer cells may alter ADSC differentiation and therefore affect reconstructive efficacy) are equally important but beyond the scope of this proposal.

Laboratory bench to bedside scientific research has remained an integral part of my plastic surgery career. I’ve been blessed to work with outstanding research mentors including Dr. Michael Longaker and Dr. Judah Folkman who encouraged me to study challenging questions in areas of wound repair, inflammation, angiogenesis, and cancer. After completing NYU Plastic Surgery Residency and MSKCC Microsurgery Fellowship, I returned to my home state to establish a microsurgical reconstruction practice with Dr. Robert Allen, and research lab focused on tissue engineering. Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Katrina battered our beloved city of New Orleans. However, it has not deterred my passion for research and academic excellence. In collaboration with Tulane and LSU investigators, our lab focuses on the clinical safety issues related to adipose stem cell based therapies. Without the generous financial support by PSEF and ASPS, this project could not be completed.