Stem Cells Found in

                                  Mother’s milk


                        Stem Cells Discovered in Breastmilk      

                                                                                             By Christine Pollack

    Breastmilk has been found to contain stem cells, according to research presented in January (2008)

at the International Conference of the Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation, in Perth, Australia.  Dr. Mark Cregan, lecturer in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of

Western Australia, sees this significant finding as a stepping stone to new, undiscovered benefits of breastmilk.

    Stem cells are "generic" cells that can make exact copies of themselves and also have the ability to produce specialized cells. While adult stem cells are generally specific to certain cell types such as skin and blood, embryonic stem cells are more versatile because they can produce cells for almost any

tissue in the body.  However, the use of embryonic cells for research is controversial.

    (Website author’s addition; Current research has found adult stem cells to be more useful than embryonic stem cells, see the ‘Do No Harm’ website link on the Links of Interest  page.)

    Several years ago, while investigating the intricacies of cells in breastmilk, Cregan wondered if it

also contained the cells' precursors.

    He and his team cultured cells from breastmilk and discovered nestin, a stem-cell "marker." In

addition to nestin, Cregan and his team found one population of stem cells with the potential to, like embryonic stem cells, differentiate into multiple cell types.

    "We already know how breastmilk provides for the baby's nutritional needs, but we are only just beginning to understand that it probably performs many other functions," says Cregan. He is eager

to see major changes in the next few years as scientists harvest these stem cells, in a completely

ethical manner, to research treatment for conditions such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, spinal injuries, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease.

April 2008


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    Just as you know not how the breath of life fashions the human frame in the mother’s womb,

so you know not the work of God which He is accomplishing in the universe.

            Ecclesiastes 11:5