Monday, April 13, 2009

The International Conference on Lactoferrin, probiotics and Medela in Africa

photo by Jessie McClain

The concluding remarks of Dr. Tony Schryvers at the 8th Conference on Lactoferrin, "Finally with bovine lactoferrin widely available through the dairy industry of a number of countries and with human lactoferrin available from transgenic rice, transgenic cows and fungal expression interest in its application is growing rapidly."

According to Bo Lonnerdal, who has organized the Lactoferrin Conferences, bovines (cows) have little to no lactoferrin. At least that is what he stated to the media some years ago. The FDA does not recognize the term "bovine lactoferrin" instead calling it "milk lactoferrin." So one finds oneself wondering how they are producing all this "bovine lactoferrin?" From the statements made at this Conference, human lactoferrin is genetically engineered through various approaches all involving genetic modifications. At this Conference they all state, "Recently, lactoferrin has been introduced into infant formula because of its potential health effects as we know." The belief seems to be that the real component is identical or somewhat identical to their genetically modified versions. So does the public understand that within infant formula are genetically modified human milk components? Obviously acceptable by the FDA and no need to let the public know what's in that can of infant formula. The Lactoferrin Conference was sponsored in 2007 by Biopole, DMV, Four Leaf, Pharming, Tatua, Armor proteines, Belgo-milk, Friesland Foods, Jarrow, Morinaga, etc. see

Next conference in Beijing, China.

Dated October 19, 2004; "Fonterra taps into Asia's appetite for lactoferrin
"Lactoferrin will be to the dairy industry what aspirin has been to the pharmaceutical industry..."

"Lactoferrin is in demand because of its nutritional and immune-enhancing properties as an ingredient in a range of products. These include infant formula, yoghurts and speciality nutritional formulations. It can even be used as an additive in fresh milk to extend shelf life."

Long live lactoferrin!!! What women make, men take.....

In February 2006,, "Puleva Biotech's human milk probiotic debuts in Spain." Lactobacillus gasseri from human milk. "Results suggest that bacteria in breast milk could be a natural probiotic for newborns. Moreover there is a strong possibility that the strains could be used in products aimed at adults." "The probiotics market could increase as much as threefold this decade, to be worth $137.9 million in Europe in 2010 and $394 million in the US."

Long live probiotics!!! What women make, men take....

Last but not least, let's discuss Medela (the breast pump company) in Africa. A foundation called "Working to Advance African Women," is partnered with Medela. Partnered might not be the right word, but Medela breast pump products are sold to help finance the foundation. I gather it is somewhat similiar to how La Leche League got involved with Medela years ago. Of course, I am not sure I understand how well the selling of the breast pump culture to African nations will be beneficial. It kinda of reminds me of the infant formula industry in Africa. How do poor women in Africa benefit from this technology? How do you clean a pump, or refrigerate your milk when you live in poverty? Even in the USA, this is an issue. When I worked in the WIC Program I worked with moms who lived in their cars. They had difficulties taking a shower and keeping their babies clean. So exactly how would a pump help them??? Breastfeeding, actually keeping the baby at the breast, was the safest solution. Technology transferred into areas of poverty often does not work. Yet Medela is poised to enter into areas of extreme poverty and high infant mortality rates with their solutions. Is this a solution for women in Africa, particularly in areas of poverty? Does economic survival for women and their babies depend upon separation? Is it dependent upon the technology of pumps, the commodification of human milk? Why are we exporting this kind of culture to Africa?

Why are women in the dark about the value of breastfeeding? Is it because men of industry, men of science have mammary envy? Why imitate the mammary gland, why use the cells in cultures, in cloning, in genetic engineering? Our esteemed men of science called the first sheep cloned, Dolly. Why? Because they used a mammary cell in cloning the sheep and it reminded them of a well-known human female known for her mammary cells (Dolly Parton). I read this in a news article...those research scientists have a sense of humor.....depending on your perspective.
Copyright 2009 Valerie W. McClain

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

$$$stem cells and other medicinal properties of breastmilk

photo by Jessie McClain
"Research shows that breastfeeding provides multiple lifelong biologic advantages to children, including increased survival and improved neurocognitive and immune functioning."
James A. McGregor MD CM and Lisa J. Rogo
Their article in the JHL (Journal of Human Lactation) states, "We propose that maternal stem cells secreted in milk and suckled by the infant may be an important but so far unappreciated live, functional component of breast milk."
Several years later, an article in ScienceAlert states, "He [Dr. Mark Cregan] believes that it [breast milk] not only meets all the nutritional needs of a growing infant but contains key markers that guide his or her development into adulthood."
In Current Science of March 2001 the discovery of "Leukaemic inhibitory factor [LIF] in human milk," is announced by D. Kaul and Jogender Singh from the Department of Experimental Medicine and Biotchnology in Chandigarh, India. "LIF plays a major role in the host response to inflammation, tissue injury and septic shock."
In an article in Behind the Medical Headlines called, "Hamlet, breast milk and viral warts," Dr. EC Benton discusses the human milk component, alpha-lactalbumin (AL) which is in breastmilk and protects infants from infection. She discusses several researchers and their work with AL. She writes that in 2000 Svensson et al "suggest that in addition to its well recognised anti-microbial activities, breast milk might also contribute to mucosal immunity by a process of immune surveillance of the infant's immature epithelium protecting it against both infection and cancer."
Her last statement in this article states, "Optimum mode of in vivo delivery to tumours may still pose challenges, as might the supply of sufficient quantities of human breast milk, but there seems little doubt that HAMLET promises to be a major player on the stage of cancer therapeutics."
This article also discusses the use of topical alpha lactalbumin-oleic acid (from breast milk) as a treatment for skin papillomas.
Dr. Mark Cregan discussed earlier regarding stem cells, is also co-inventor to a patent application #2007005922 called "Method for isolating cells from mammary secretion." Which is about harvesting stem cells from breastmilk. While it is about a "method" there seems to be some questionable claims that would make those of us without a legal background wonder whether an actual claim is being made on stem cells. The article in sciencealert states that harvesting stem cells from breastmilk would be entirely ethical in comparison to the harvesting of cells from embryos. Yes, that is true to a degree. It circumvents the need for aborted fetuses. But there are still ethical issues involved in harvesting stem cells from breastmilk. First, would mothers be informed that the intent of the researchers was to harvest stem cells?? We have reason to doubt that mothers would be fully informed of this intent. Should mothers who provide their breastmilk for stem cell research have a financial share in any economic windfall of that research? Will this interest of stem cells increase breastfeeding promotion? Or will the need for secrecy (patenting requires a degree of secrecy) create a media atmosphere in which breastfeeding is devalued?
HAMLET is already patented (about 5 patents) by researcher Catherine Svanborg and owned by a pharmaceutical company. HAMLET's proposed use is for cancer and HPV (human papilloma virus). Yet mother's are bombarded by articles that question the validity of breastfeeding as a public health measure (The Case Against Breastfeeding by Rosin in The Atlantic). The media has played an enormous role in presenting breastfeeding as a lifestyle choice, when the reality is that breastfeeding is a public health issue. How does a consumer make a health decision when evidence of the value of breastfeeding and the risks of infant formula are surpressed. Even breastfeeding advocates seem to be unaware of the increasing commodification of human milk components (genetically engineered), its use in foods, infant formula, supplements, and most importantly in the pharmaceutical industry.
Copyright 2009 Valerie W. McClain

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Case Against Infant-formula-feeding, part 2

Would you ever see an article entitled, "The Case Against Infant-formula-feeding" in magazines or newspapers? Nope. There is enormous monetary interest in sustaining the infant formula industry and by default the dairy and biotech industries that provide the ingredients for the receipes made for babies around the world. They control the media. In this New Age we have biotech central's receipes, made in factories around the world. The need for human milk components (the gold standard for the infant formula industry) has encouraged a great deal of creativity. Hey, you there, woman of the world, we can make something equal to your mammary gland. We can take an algae or fungi, clone it, ferment it, cut it with hexane, clarify it with acetone and presto-chango we have DHA and ARA. Its the same thing you women produce in your mammary gland (wink-wink, the smile of the used car salesman). And we the gullible public believe it because we are bombarded by article after article espousing the virtues of DHA and ARA. We have a deficiency....a deficiency...a deficiency...we need DHA and ARA....the words roll on into our brain, a yoga mantra brought to you by our friends from space science, Martek Bioscience. Yes, our space programs have brought us some marvelous inventions. So algae and fungi, as space foods brought to earth seems rather bizarre but cute. Fish eat algae, right? So it can't be all that bad. And let me see what eats fungi?? Oh yeah formula-fed babies who need their ARA. Children in Africa are starving so ya better drink up that algae and fungi--made specially for you.
Probiotics....giggling now, you really don't want to know how our modern darlings of functional foods make probiotics do you? Let's talk microbe hunting and the exciting adventures of finding bacteria in the most interesting places. Nestle has one patent in which they found their bacteria in breastfed baby poop. They cloned it and have it at the ATCC. They aren't the only ones. So pass the breastfed baby poop bacteria. Here's to functional food!!!!! Hey I use to eat yogurt, haven't had yogurt or acidophilus since reading that patent gem. Let's talk about how ya influence the next generation of university-trained students. Nestle USA had a medical researcher who was also a nutrition professor at the John Hopkins Medical School. His research--probiotics. That my friends happens alot. I gather that universities don't pay well enough, so moonlighting happens. Not a bad situation for the corporate business world who can influence generations. But not a wonderful gift for freedom of thought, freedom from corporate interests.
This is for Hanna Rosin. Look up patent #7230078 called, "Soluble toll-like receptor," at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Its a Nestec S.A. (Nestle) patent. Inventors are Eduardo Schiffrin et al. "It is particularly surprising that a soluble variant of a protein known as a transmembrane protein was found in human milk." and this Toll-like transmembrane proteins "play a crucial role in the regulation of immune responses of mammals, especially of immune responses against bacterial conserved molecules present in the intestinal tracts of mammals." It will be used as a medicine, a cosmetic, a therapy.
"The sTLRR of the present invention may be obtained from human milk, especially during the early stages of lactation."
Interesting...Nestle seems to believe that there is a protein in human milk that regulates immunity and that this will provide a tool for Nestle to regulate inflammation. Wow...what do you believe and why do you believe it? Look at the patents and patent applications on human milk components (2000 and increasing daily) and we believe that the "choice" of whether to breastfeed or not is an equal one. While industry scrambles to own the components of human milk in order to improve our immune system, we are given articles like Rosin's to read. I have been writing about this for 10 years and the silence particularly from breastfeeding advocates is well...astonishing. I guess we all believe what we want to believe.
Nestle isn't the only company patenting. We have Pharmasurgics from Sweden with patent # 7253143 called "Peptides based on the sequence of human lactoferrin and their use." Human lactoferrin is a component of human milk and this invention will treat and prevent infections, inflammations and tumors and be used in INFANT FORMULA. The inventors are Lars Hanson et al.
Are we witnessing the sunset of breastfeeding? Breastfeeding advocates have for years self-monitored themselves--don't talk about the RISKS of INFANT FORMULA. Instead focus on the benefits of breastfeeding. Instead talk about the risks of not breastfeeding. What? That means there are risks to breastfeeding. Why say that except to be politically correct in a hostile environment? Yes, politically correct to the point of extinction.....seeing the sunset, the pinks, the coolness, the end of the day.
Copyright 2009 Valerie W. McClain