Student designs cancer-fighting bra

A student has invented a bra that could deliver cancer-fighting drugs through the wearer’s skin.

Sarah da Costa, a Masters student at Central Saint Martins, said that in her bra, a biodegradable polymer called the Foxleaf is housed in the silk mesh lining of the cups, through which the drug Tamoxifen is diffused when in contact with moisture and friction.

The idea is to deliver the correct dosage of Tamoxifen directly to the breasts, preventing potential side effects associated with oral drug use.

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The bra was designed in partnership with the London College of Fashion for the 18-25 year old typology who had the BRCA I and II gene markers, making them more likely to develop breast cancer.

“In designing for this group in breast care clinics we came up with a desirable COS/Nike influenced bralet design in the girls’ chosen materials, colour palette etc,” da Costa told Lingerie Insight.

On the science side, da Costa has been working with Dr Ipsita Roy, a reader of microbial biotechnology at the University of Westminster.

Together, they will develop the Foxleaf polymers in Dr Roy’s lab and measure the release of drugs using skin cells before beginning pre-clinical trials.

“The plan is to create a structure – in this case the concept is a leaf-shaped structure – similar to a Nurofen patch used for back pain,” Dr Roy explained.

“This would release drugs at a required rate, which would target specific spots where the tumours are. Side effects would be reduced because you are not delivering the drug to the entire body.”

The plan beyond the Foxleaf bra is to bring biopolymer drug delivery to different wearables for sufferers of different conditions, including underpants for men with prostate cancer and even pyjamas or bed sheets for those with dementia.



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