(photo by Jesse McClain)
I have read and heard that human milk is the gold standard. The Wyeth website(maker of infant formula around the world--except in the USA) has a slogan on one web page, "Treasure Them Like Gold." They are writing about "their" alpha protein. They state, "One of the golden ingredients that makes a mother's milk so special is something called Alpha-lactalbumin, also known as alpha-protein." It is the major whey protein in human milk. Cow's have very little of this protein. They have a high level of whey protein called beta-lactoglobulin. They state that beta-lactoglobulin "may be a potential trigger for allergic reactions in children."
At one time PPL Therapeutics had a contract with Wyeth to produce "Alpha-Lac." PPL Therapeutics is known for "Dolly, the cloned sheep." So the alpha-lac they produced was cloned using transgenic techniques. One of the purposes of the contract with Wyeth was to produce "two new nutritional proteins." One was to be used for pediatric and geriatric uses. The other was to be used in PKU treatment.
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) has become a popular nutritional supplement. There is a popular bovine (cow) WPC that seems to have alpha-lactalbumin in it called Immunocal. It is a "pharmaceutical grade undenatured whey protein concentrate" used in treatment for HIV and cancer. Articles on this product quote a book edited by Luc Montagnier (co-discoverer of the hiv virus) in which a whole chapter is devoted to this product. ("Nutriceutical Modulation of Glutathione with a Humanized Native Milk Serum Protein Isolate Application in Cancer and AIDS. If one goes to the website of Immunocal, one sees a breastfeeding mother with her infant as well as other healthy looking people. But how often do we see breastfeeding publicly by a company selling supplements? I applaud their promotion of breastfeeding...although I am curious about their "humanized native milk serum protein."
The researcher, Gustavo Bounous (who seems to be part of the company called Immunotech that produces the product Immunocal) has a patent called"Method of treatment of HIV-seropositive individuals with dietary whey proteins." (patent # 5456924) filed in 1992. He also did a study in 1998 using Immunocal for treatment in cancer and AIDS with another well-known HIV/AIDS researcher Mark Wainberg.
It is interesting where our science seems to take us. Hiv-positive mothers shouldn't breastfeed according to the CDC, but we will give them and their babies nutritional products that mimic human milk. Is it because breastfeeding does not create profits, products to sell? We are more accepting of that which is manipulated and made by man than letting a hiv positive woman put her baby to her breast. "Treasure them like gold." Treasure the human milk proteins, but by golly lets not let too many women know that we own their proteins and we will be treasuring them. The word bio-piracy comes to mind, except the victims don't even know they have been robbed.