Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nestle, a human milk component patent for infant formula

"The present invention is based on the surprising discovery of a molecular component of human breast milk, which shows high homology with the extracellular domain of TLR molecules, and more specifically with TLR-2."

TLRs according to this Nestle patent "play a crucial role in regulation of immune responses, especially of immune responses against bacterial conserved molecules present in the intestinal tracts of mammals."

This is US Patent # 7,230,078 called, "Soluble toll-like receptor," filed in 2002 by inventors Schiffrin et al. and assigned to Nestec (Nestle).

They patented from human milk obtained in Santa Cruz, California. I wonder if the woman or women knew that their milk was the basis for a patent by Nestle? If it were me, I wouldn't be too happy about it. One would think that Nestle owed these mothers some kind of financial compensation. But we don't compensate dairy cows for their donations of milk. So I guess why would we think that some huge corporation that makes millions of dollars from dissuading women from breastfeeding would compensate the lactating mother? Just think lactating mothers are supporting the infant formula industry. Ironic. Anyway on this fine day let's quote the Nestle patent:

"It has been demonstrated that breast-fed newborns have a lower incidence of intestinal infections, intestinal inflammatory conditions, lower incidence of respiratory infections, and, later in life, less allergic disease."

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