The role of mother's milk in strengthening the immune system in infants is well known. Adding more evidence on the benefits, scientists have developed a new drug from human breast milk that helps fight cancer and tick-borne encephalitis.
Experiments conducted by a team of researchers on mice showed that a protein found in breast milk known as lactaptin was capable of killing cancer cells related to lung and liver cancer, The Siberian Times reported.
"Two medications are going through the pre-clinical trial now," researcher Valentin Vlasovs, from the Siberian Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine, told The Siberian Times. "During analyses of the milk proteins we detected a tiny peptide that affected cancer cells. It destroyed cancer cells and left the healthy ones alive."
Interestingly, the same protein was found effective in treating tick-borne encephalitis. Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain caused by various infections. According to US National Library of Medicine, the rare condition is mainly caused by exposure to different types of viruses, via contaminated food or insect bites (mosquito, tick). "We continue tests on anti tick born encephalitis. We have a protein, an antibody that deactivates the virus. This is almost a ready-to-go medication. It just needs to go through all the tests now," Vlasovs, said to the website.
The findings come at a time when liver cancer claims a significant number of lives in India, making it the third leading causes of cancer deaths in the country. Delhi doctors reported recently that they receive nearly 10 new cases of such cases every week.
Lung cancer is also one of the leading causes of death across the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer claimed nearly 7.6 million lives in 2008, and lung cancer contributed to 1.37 million deaths. According to a 2011 WHO data, a death rate of 142.1 per 100,000 persons was reported.