Sunday, December 2, 2007

"Treasure Them Like Gold," Wyeth Gold

(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.

1 comment:

  1. Here is a little update for you.

    "Health Canada Approves Health Claim for HMS 90 / IMMUNOCAL"

    And here's a little history on Dr. Gustavo Bounous. He didn't just work at Immunotec.


    (Prior to the development of Immunocal, no effective way was known to safely and significantly increase cystine levels in the cell over long periods of time.)

    Educated at the University of Turin and the University of Genoa in his native Italy, Gustavo Bounous' distinguished career in medical research began as a Research Fellow in surgery at the Indiana Medical Center, Indianapolis.
    In 1963, he moved to Canada and commenced an academic career that led him to become Professor of Surgery, firstly at the University of Sherbrooke (1973-1985), then at McGill University (1985-1993). Dr. Bounous was awarded the 1965 medal of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He pioneered the use of elemental diets in the prophylaxis and treatment of intestinal lesions associated with shock, intestinal ischemia, radiation, cancer chemotherapy and Crohn's disease.

    In 1968, he was named Career Investigator of the Medical Research Council, an award that was reconfirmed until 1993, the year of his retirement from McGill University.
    In 1978, Dr Bounous initiated a novel research program to search for a dietary protein source that would boost the immune system, in conjunction with a colleague from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine.
    Studies led to the discovery of an undenatured serum milk concentrate that sustains normal glutathione levels and promotes immunoenhancing and anticarcinogenic activity.

    Subsequent identification of the active ingredients present in this protein mixture brought on, in 1993, the production of a high-quality bioactive material given the name and trademark IMMUNOCAL®/HMS 90®.

    Along with Dr. Patricia Kongshavn who received her Honors Degree in Natural Sciences as a Major Scholar at Cambridge University, and completed her doctorate in Immunology at McGill University after immigrating to Canada.

    She subsequently joined the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and held appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Medicine, becoming Full Professor in 1986. Her research was funded by independent grants to her from the Medical Research Council of Canada, the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

    Her main research was concerned with increasing basic knowledge of the immune system, with a focus on cellular immunology, host/parasite interactions and the genetics of natural resistance.

    In the mid-1970’s she began collaboration initiated by Dr Gustavo Bounous to research the influence of various dietary proteins on immune responsiveness. They published their first paper on this research in 1978 and continued their collaboration until 1989, during which period they co-authored 14 papers.

    This work led to the discovery of an undenatured whey protein concentrate that regulated glutathione levels and promoted immune enhancing and anti-carcinogenic activity.

    This led ultimately to the production of a high quality bioactive nutraceutical: Immunocal®.

    Dr. Konghavn retired from McGill to relocate to Europe in 1990, and currently acts as a consultant to