Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The power of breast milk

A remarkable discovery has recently been made at the University of Western Australia: Serious and fatal diseases such as pancreatic cancer, Parkinson's disease and diabetes may eventually be treated using stem cells from breast milk.

PhD student Foteini Hassiotou has potentially broken through the greatest hurdle in stem cell research - the ability to ethically obtain stem cells in a non-invasive manner, which by anyone´s standards is a significant breakthrough
She was able to conclude that stem cells from breast milk can be directed to become other body cell types such as bone, fat, liver and brain cells, potentially reducing the need to use embryonic stem cells and therefore fast-tracking future therapies. Back in 2008 researchers at this same university discovered that breast milk contained embryonic-like stem cells. Dr Hassiotou will test her hypothesis by conducting animal transplants during the next few months.
This discovery raises many other issues such as what role stem cells play in the development of the infant once they´ve been ingested.

For lovers of science, stem cell therapy holds a lot of promise and is ultimately the therapy of the future.


livi said...

Hi, love your blog! I'm a prospective biomed student currently in yr 12 :) I just find stem cells fascinating in the sense that it's still a relatively unknown topic with so much to discover and learn about.

The wacky scientist said...

It's quite exciting to think that we will be the generation that witnesses some of the greatest advances in this field!