Breast milk compound targets cancer

Breast milk ingredient latest weapon in fight against cancer. (Pictured, Cow Milk, human milk isn't sold in supermarkets.)

Exciting news in the medical world as Swedish researchers make a startling discovery. Scientists at the University of Lund were investigating new antibiotics when they came across a potential cancer cure. A milk compound, known as ‘Hamlet’, attacked tumour cells and left others alone. Unlike conventional chemotherapy, which attacks all cells, this treatment promises a safer and more tolerable treatment. A glass of milk a day might just be a miracle.

Hamlet attacks Bladder Cancer

Researchers tested a new compound, HAMLET ((Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumor cells),  to patients with bladder cancer. Urine measurements taken days later showed evidence of dead tumour cells. The lipid-protein compound seemed to destroy tumor cells only.  The mechanism itself is complex, but the substance avoids the cancer’s defenses and then targets the cells energy systems. By attacking these ‘mitochondria’, the substance caused the cancer to commit cellular suicide. A process called ‘apoptosis’.

Whats  next for Hamlet?

A placebo trial is the next step. In this trial patients will ebe given either the Hamlet compound or a fake version. They will not know the difference, which means any direct effect of the drug can be measured.

More about Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is mainly a disease of older people. Risk factors include smoking, exposure to industrial rubbers, Aristolochic acid (found in some Chinese medicines), previous cancer,  some genetic conditions and recurrent untreated bladder infections. Men are affected more than women. Symptoms vary but may include painless bloody urine,  changes in urinary pattern and problems passing water. More advanced cancer can prevent with pain (worse on one side), weight loss, weakness, loss os appetite, swelling in the feet and bone pain. Most bloody urine does not mean cancer, but always see your doctor if you are concerned.

Treatment is a combination of chemotherapy (chemicals) and or surgery.  Survival rates vary dependent on the stage of cancer at detection. Catching cancer early usually means better treatment and greater survival. Survival rates (At 5 years) are calculated as  77% for all stages (which takes account of lower rates with more severe cancers, and higher with less severe.)


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Any opinions above are the author’s alone and may not represent those of his/her affiliations. Any comment is based on the best available evidence at the time of writing.  All data is based on externally validated studies unless expressed otherwise. Novel data is representative of the sample surveyed. An online recommendation is no substitute for seeing your own doctor and should not be taken as medical advice.

Sources and Further Reading

Image courtesy of Flickr. Image has been reformatted from its original.

About drbmjanaway (16 Articles)
Doctor and author with an interest in neurology, evolutionary biology and public health communication

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