29 February 2024
International education in the Netherlands: 'The newcomers as well as teachers are really hard workers'
- International student
- International talent
Dan Jing Wu founded the spin-off VivArt-X in 2022 together with her former supervisor, TU/e professor Patricia Dankers. The name VivArt-X comes from the French vivre meaning life. Art stands for artificial and the X for the female chromosome.
Wu is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the young company, and Patricia Dankers, as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), is responsible for the scientific side of the business. “Patricia does the hardcore science, I do the commercial side of science. I set up our strategy, figure out how to get our product to market, and how to deal with regulations,” she summarizes.
“We want to use VivArt-X to help breast cancer patients who have had breast-conserving surgery to grow back body tissue that does not die,” Wu says. About half of the 2.3 million breast cancer patients worldwide need to have cancerous tissue removed and require reconstructive breast surgery.
Women are increasingly opting for reconstruction with body tissue by transplanting their own fat. On average, women need three treatments to achieve the desired results. “Those cells are removed from their stable environment and therefore often die,” Wu explains. “The body cannot always clean up the large amount of dying cells neatly, which can lead to complications, such as inflammation or cysts.”
And this is where VivArt-X steps in: “The idea is that we mimic exactly the same biochemical and mechanical environment that a cell has in the body. We’re working on a material that we can insert along with those fat cells. That forms a kind of matrix in which those fat cells stay healthy and not die,” Wu explains.
Having spoken with women who have had surgery for breast cancer, she knows what the emotional impact can be. “Women who survive breast cancer have already gone through an entire process: chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and total or partial amputation of the breast. Women who have had breast surgery are not necessarily concerned with regaining the function of the breast, but rather its shape. This makes them feel like women again. We can give them that feeling back with the product we are developing.”