Turn plastic landfill into life-saving medical treatments

The average person in the UK throws away their own body weight in plastic every year (BBC). What if we could reformulate those plastics to help our bodies heal after surgery?

Birmingham-in-PlasticsOur landfills are piled high with single-use plastics that won't break down for decades. Yet hospitals have an urgent need for a different kind of plastic: biodegradable plastics. When a tumour is removed from the body in surgery, the gap left can be devastating for the patient, especially where a visible void is created such as in breast tissue. Surgeons need better options to assist healing and restore natural tissues.

Help transform single-use plastics into something much more valuable

You could help world-leading researchers at Birmingham turn waste plastics into new biodegradable plastics that can be 3D printed to precisely fit the patient after surgery. This personalised solution will reduce pain, help healing and even mean we can target post-operative radiotherapy more precisely against cancer cells, reducing the patient's risk of secondary cancer. And this could be just the start once we can deliver biodegradable plastic for breast reconstruction, there are potentially hundreds of uses for reformulated plastic, which help both individuals and the environment.

Andrew-plasticsResearcher Andrew needs your support

'Our plastic scaffolds sit in the breast after surgery, preserving the shape when the patient's self-image can be most vulnerable. It will be coated with an anti-cancer treatment, and could make radiotherapy more precise. This biodegradable scaffold encourages natural tissue to grow back, then disappears like dissolvable stitches. With your support we could be in clinical trials in just two years.'

Make a donation

You could help solve two problems at once, reducing waste plastics and helping cancer patients, through a gift starting at £5 a month.

Donate Now

The University is an exempt charity under Schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011 (Inland Revenue charities number: X7237).  See our privacy policy