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.

Application of TRAIL-expressing ADSCs in Lipofilling

Principal Investigator
Mei Yang MD


Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Funding Mechanism
Pilot Research Grant

Focus Area
Breast (Cosmetic / Reconstructive)

Since the 1980's, there has been an increased interest in autologous lipofilling for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. By providing excellent reconstruction results without severe donor site morbidity, autologous fat has been considered an ideal filler. However, concerns over graft survival and oncological safety have limited its application. Modified liposuction technique, various growth factors and cytokines have been used during fat grafting to increase graft survival. However, clinical results remain limited. Recently, an alternative approach relying on enhancement of the proportion of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) within the fat has been found to promote long term graft survival. However, these cells have been suggested to play a role in carcinogenesis. There are studies showing that ADSCs may contribute to tumor growth or even differentiate into tumor related cells, but other studies also suggest an anti-tumor effect in these cells. Despite these controversies, there is a consensus that ADSCs can migrate to tumors in vivo, which gives them potential for use in gene therapy to treat cancer. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily, which causes apoptosis of tumor cells through the extrinsic apoptosis pathway without damaging normal cells. It has been found effective in treating several malignancies including breast and gynecologic cancers. There are also studies showing that inducible TRAIL-expressing ADSCs can migrate to and kill both primary breast tumor and its metastases. Moreover, the "stemness" and the multi-differentiation potential of these cells are well reserved during transduction. In this study, lipofilling combined with genetically engineered TRAIL-expressing ADSCs will be applied to a breast cancer xenograft model. The survival of the fat graft and growth of the tumor will be evaluated after transplantation to test the hypothesis that TRAIL-expressing ADSCs can promote the survival of the fat graft and inhibit growth of the tumor. Although our studies will be performed in mice, this project has great translational potential. This is because ADSCs have already been used in humans and are proven to have promise for gene therapy in cancer treatment.