The Plastic Surgery Foundation
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Grants We Funded

Grant Applicants for 2020 requested more than $4.1 million. The PSF Study Section Subcommittees of Basic and Translational Research and Clinical Research Evaluated 111 applications on the following topics:

The PSF awarded Research Grants totaling more than $860,000 to support 24 plastic surgery research proposals.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons/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.

Therapeutic Fat Grafting: Breast Cancer Treatment and Reconstruction

Principal Investigator
Abigail Cochran MD


Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Funding Mechanism
National Endowment for Plastic Surgery Grant

Focus Area
Breast (Cosmetic / Reconstructive)

Lipofilling has become an integral part of oncoplastic breast reconstruction, providing excellent aesthetic results for post mastectomy or post lumpectomy cancer patients. This technique involves transplantation of fat tissue from one part of the body in order to correct a breast contour deformity. Despite its widespread application, great concerns exist regarding the unknown cancer stimulating potential of adipose (fat) cells within the lipoaspirate. These cells, which have significant reconstructive benefits, have also been shown to promote tumor growth in previous studies. The oncological safety of lipofilling needs to be addressed before uninhibited recommendations for application in the post-mastectomy patient can be made. Although the role of adipose cells in this setting has yet to be fully elucidated, there is also evidence to suggest that these cells can be used as a vehicle to suppress tumor growth when genetically engineered. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) binds preferentially to a receptor on tumor cells, inducing cell death without damaging normal, non-cancer cells. Studies have shown that adipose cells and adipose derived stem cells (ADSCs), engineered to express TRAIL can migrate to and kill both breast tumors and its metastases. We have designed a study which mimics lipofilling in a breast cancer model using adipose cells designed to express TRAIL. We hypothesize that genetically engineered adipose cells (TRAIL-lipoaspirate), injected locally to a tumor bed via the fat graft will inhibit tumor growth. Findings from this study will generate tremendous clinical implications as breast reconstruction with lipofilling in cancer patients may no longer be controversial. The combination of cell-based gene therapy with lipofilling offers a new concept in oncoplastic breast surgery, providing cancer therapy while simultaneously achieving excellent reconstructive results.

Abigail Maciolek Cochran, MD is a fourth year resident at the Institute of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine. During her residency at Southern Illinois University, she has been involved in many facets of clinical and basic science research. She has received over $100,000 in grants from regional and national foundations including the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the Plastic Surgery Foundation. Dr. Cochran aspires to become an academic plastic surgeon and has particular interest in reconstructive microsurgery and craniofacial reconstruction.