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IMMUNE RESPONSES PRODUCED IN SILICONE STUDIES

 ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons is responding to recently released studies that relate to silicone gel-filled breast implants. These studies have shown a possible link between the implants and immune responses.
 In one study at the University of California Davis, 46 women went to the University Medical Center's Allergy and Immunology Clinic with complaints or concerns about their breast implants. When studied, one third of the women were found to have developed antibodies to collagen, a substance commonly found in scar tissue surrounding breast implants.
 In another study, this one released last week by Dow Corning, rats injected with liquid silicone mixed with a cattle protein did not show a physical response. However, when rats were injected with a gel form of silicone mixed with the protein, the rats responded by creating antibodies to the protein.
 Two other studies are scheduled for release at a regional meeting of the American College of Rheumatology on Friday, March 26. One concerns the finding of a chemical related to inflammation in women with breast implants; the other reported that of six breast-implant patients with rheumatoid arthritis indications, two of the women reportedly benefited from implant removal.
 Although the studies provide some information, researchers say they are not conclusive. It is still not understood why a small number of women may react to some of the substances, and there has been no scientific connection made between the formation of antibodies and generation of a disease. More studies are needed to determine silicone gel's effect on humans.
 ``The body's natural reaction to any foreign substance is to produce antibodies,'' said Dr. Garry Brody, secretary of the ASPRS and clinical professor at the University of Southern California.
 ``The antibodies are the body's protective mechanism and represent a healthy response. The presence of an antibody does not mean disease. For example, antibodies are often deliberately stimulated for immunization, such as in polio vaccines, etc.''
 The ASPRS advises women who want additional information or who have concerns about their implants to see their plastic surgeons, or call the ASPRS Breast Implant Patient Relations Network at 1-800-635-0635 for referral to a board-certified plastic surgeon. The society has notified its members of the studies so plastic surgeons can pass on information to their patients.
 The society also agrees with the Food and Drug Administration that healthy women with breast implants who do not have symptoms should leave their implants in place. However, women should be aware of symptoms and, if they occur, report them to their plastic surgeons.
 Symptoms reported by some women include joint pain, swollen glands or lymph nodes, unusual hair loss and swelling of the hands and feet. These symptoms may or may not be related to breast implants, since they seem to occur as frequently in women without implants.
 The society's Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation continues to fund ongoing research into the safety of breast implants. One of the studies, at the Mayo Clinic, is currently studying silicone gel-filled breast implants and autoimmune disorders in women who received implants from 1962-1991. Results are expected within a year.
 -0- 3/25/93
 /CONTACT: Laura Kopulos of ASPRS, 708-228-9900, Ext. 349/


CO: The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons ST: Illinois IN: MTC SU:

TM -- NY095 -- 9883 03/25/93 19:50 EST
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Date:Mar 25, 1993
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