They present the first artificially developed human milk
In recent years, artificially producing breast milk has become one of the most difficult challenges in the scientific industry. If we have managed to replicate laboratory diamonds, capable of confusing the most experienced jeweler, it is tempting to think that it would be easy to reproduce something as basic as mother’s milk. However, appearances can be deceiving and developing something that nature has perfected over millions and millions of years was not yielding good results.
The key lies in the surprising complexity of this liquid, which is also not fixed or unique but varies depending on the moment and even adapts to the requirements of the infant over time, depending on the energy needs and the development of the baby. newborn. With all these elements and drawbacks, it is better understood the difficulties faced by all those research teams that have wanted to develop a product with an identical composition and structure, or at least very similar to the maternal one.
Bill Gates himself, a tycoon always ready to support almost impossible causes, financed one of these projects with more than three million dollars with the intention of obtaining a viable product on the market within the next five years. In this way, and after a long wait, the BIOMILQ company has just announced “the production of the world’s first cell culture human milk outside the womb”.
The goal of this development is to address the inability to produce enough breast milk to meet the nutritional needs of the baby. It is known as “hypogalactia” and can be due to different factors, sometimes difficult to detect. Without going any further, the trajectory of this BIOMILQ company begins with the personal story of its founder, Leila Strickland, a cell biologist who has worked in the production of artificial breast milk since her lactation stage in which she struggled to breastfeed. their own children.
The analyzes carried out confirm that the developed fluid has achieved “macronutrient profiles that closely match the expected types and proportions of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids and other lipids present in breast milk.”
Beyond feeding the baby, breast milk fulfills other functions as important as helping the baby immune development of the newborn and the product presented by this company “contains a complete set of human milk proteins that not only work to nourish but also protect babies.”
Of course, the managers of the company are aware that their product is not biologically and molecularly identical to breast milk and they recognize this. “Hormonal changes, baby signals, skin-to-skin contact and even the environment affect the dynamic complexity of breast milk, that is almost impossible to replicate,” confesses Jennifer Smilolowitz, researcher at UC Davis and technical advisor to BIOMILQ. “Our product will not show the real-time compositional dynamics that occur during feeding in response to the intimate relationship between mother and child and their unique environment. But, it brings other advantages since when produced in a sterile controlled environment, it will be free of environmental toxins, food allergens and prescription drugs that are often detected in breast milk ”.
In the presentation, the company announces that it expects to have the product on the market in approximately five years. In summary and as the company managers clearly warn, this first approach is not intended to replace breastfeeding, but it does open a long-awaited option for mothers with hypogalactia problems or for babies with different allergies.