Swedish researchers have discovered a molecule from breast milk with remarkable tumour killing properties dubbed ‘HAMLET’ – short for human alpha-lactalbumin – undergoing its first human trials.
Africa Tembelea understands that the accidental discovery of the effects of a compound found in breast milk, could mean a more effective and targeted way to kill cancerous tumour cells.
Researchers from the University of Lunt in Sweden have revealed some positive results from studying the effects Hamlet has on bladder cancer patients.
In the early trials, those injected with the compound began to shed dead tumour cells through their urine within days.
“There’s something magical about Hamlet’s ability to target tumour cells and kill them,” Professor Catharina Svanborg, a professor of immunology at Lund University in Sweden told BBC Science in May this year.
But the discovery came completely by accident while the team was researching antibiotics.
“We were looking for natural antibacterial molecules in body fluids. We threw some lung cancer cells into the test tube with human milk and noticed that the tumour cells died. We had to repeat it a few times before we could believe our eyes,” Catharina said.
Researchers believe breast milk compound targets cancer cells alone, offering an alternative to chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, which can damage both healthy and cancerous cells in the body.