Breast milk is about to be used to fight cancer, after scientists accidentally discovered that it contains a killer of cancer cells.
UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported that researchers believed that breast milk contains a substance called Hamlet that can cure the problems of bowel and uterus cancer.
They said that the substance attacks cancer cells while not affecting healthy cells. Therefore, it will not have the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy.
Professor Catharina Svanborg, an immunologist at Lund University in Sweden who first discovered this, said that breast milk contains a protein called alpha-lactalbumin, which can be converted into an anti-cancer agent in the intestinal environment.
The researchers were looking for new antibacterial agents, and breast milk is a very good source. In one experiment, they placed human cells and bacteria together, choosing human tumour cells for practical reasons. Surprisingly, when they added breast milk to this mixture, cancer cells died.
Initial trials carried out with bladder cancer patients showed that people who received the Hamlet injection began excreting dead cancer cells through the urine within a few days. Comprehensive testing with Hamlet put into medication is being planned.