10 December 2006

Breasts have extra features

Scientsts investigating breast milk have found a number of startling features of the breasts’ output.

For example,

They applied breast milk to the cancerous lung cells, and all the cells died. Breast milk killed cancer cells.
“From that moment on, we’ve been working with it,” Svanborg says.

Breast milk’s third-largest ingredient is “is a mixture of indigestible sugars known as oligosaccharides. Many of these sugars occur only in human milk” and the scientists wondered why breasts “wasted” effort producing these. It turned out that the oligosaccharides protect against diseases like diarhhoea caused by campylobacter.

The list goes on. “Unlike the antibodies that mothers pass along to their infants through breast milk, oligosaccharides can protect the baby from pathogens to which the mother has never been exposed.” They do this, in part by offering binding sites to hostile bacteria which mimic real gut-lining sites, then carry the bacteria harmlessly through with them. It turns out that some useful bacteria do flourish in the presence of oligosaccharides, theoretically making them stronger than the harmful ones.

Because the oligosaccharides use an entire existing mechanism for their work, they might be useful for helping things like gut-recolonisation after an infection. They’d be difficult to build resistance to, because a greeblie which changed form to avoid binding to them would also fail to bind to the cell walls of any victims.

Another useful ingredient is lactoferrin, which fights inflammation, weakened immunity, viruses, bacteria & fungi. Even its broken-down components fight urinary-tract infections as they’re filtered out & discarded from the system. Lactoferrin’s abilities set it up so that it “seems like a golden bullet, but it really is so” according to Michal Zimecki, an immunologist.

And as I said before, the list goes on. The next breast-milk I get fed is going down with extra respect. (-:

It turns out that only an acidified “alpha lactalbumin” protein was responsible for wiping out the cancer cells. “Svanborg dubbed the acidified form of the protein HAMLET, for human alpha-lactalbumin made lethal to tumors” & has been testing HAMLET against various other cancers, including baldder cancer, with good results.

She has found 40 kinds of tumour cells which HAMLET is effective against, so far. Oddly enough, a “cancer” which HAMLET turns out to be effective against is warts. “Why are you doing that?” “To remove my warts, of course!”

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