Came across this the other day…. apparently breast milk contains stem cells.
It was Dr Cregan’s interest in infant health that led him to investigate the complex cellular components of human milk. “I was looking at this vast complexity of cells and I thought, ‘No one knows anything about them’.”
His hunch was that if breast milk contains all these cells, surely it has their precursors, too?
His team cultured cells from human breast milk and found a population that tested positive for the stem cell marker, nestin. Further analysis showed that a side population of the stem cells were of multiple lineages with the potential to differentiate into multiple cell types. This means the cells could potentially be “reprogrammed” to form many types of human tissue.
“We have shown these cells have all the physical characteristics of stem cells. What we will do next is to see if they behave like stem cells,” he says.
If so, they promise to provide researchers with an entirely ethical means of harvesting stem cells for research without the debate that has dogged the harvesting of cells from embryos.
Now you can have the stems cells AND the baby too! Breast milk has often been called “liquid gold” amongst those in the know. Who would have thought such great stuff pours out of me in such copious amounts soaking numerous articles of clothing? Too bad scientists can’t harvest breast milk off soaked t-shirts, I currently have a hamper full of just such items. Ah well……at least we know breast milk is plentiful, scientists should have no difficulties in acquiring it.
Now, this begs the questions, if human milk contains stem cells for humans, does cow’s milk must contain stem cells for bovines.? And, if so, what can we use them for?