"For example, in newborn pigs who are nursed by the mother, there is substantial growth, approximately eight to ten inches of intestines of the infant within the first few days after birth. In a large number of human newborns who are not nursed by the mother but are placed on an infant's formula, this growth of the gastrointestinal tract during the first few days may not occur."
Written in 1987, this patent owned by Baylor College of Medicine created a furor in Europe. It was called the Pharm Woman patent by those opposed to its conception. It is a patent on life--making claim to lactoferrin that is made in the mammary gland of a woman. The patent at the European Patent Office was never approved because of the efforts of the Green Party. But the patent was approved in the USA and in Australia. The USA patent is #4977137 called "Lactoferrin as a dietary ingredient promoting the growth of the gastrointestinal tract," with inventors Buford Nichols et al. It also states:
"Studies in the pig, dog, and rat indicate that the gastrointestinal tract matures more rapidly if the newborn animal is suckled."
"Mammary secretion from goats, sheep, cows, and humans have been found to stimulate the proliferation of various cell lines growing in culture."
In more recent patent applications by a company called GroPep in Australia called, "Growth Promoting Agent," they state a study by M. Klagsbrun, "Human milk stimulates DNA synthesis and cell proliferation in cultural fibroblasts." (Proc. Nat'l Acad. Sci USA, 75, 5057, 1978)
In a patent owned by Abbott (a pharmaceutical company but also the infant formula company, Ross) entitled, "Method for reducing the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, " invented by Carlson et al. A study is quoted by Kosloski, "..NEC is rare among infants fed only breastmilk, In humans breastmilk plays a role in passive immunization of the neonatal intestine, and contains factors that promote the growth of Bifdobacterium in the intestinal flora. It is also reported that the beneficial contents of human milk may be adversely affected by freezing, pasteruization, or storage." patent # 6080787
Patent #6682744 mentions the use of Bifdobacteria and Lactobacilli to reduce the occurrence of NEC in preterm infants. They state, "Human milk populates the intestines with Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, generating a very different gut flora than seen after formula feeding."
One patent uses oral glutamine in the prevention of neonatal necrotizing entercolitis and other gastrointestinal mucosal damage. This patent states that the glutamate content of human milk protein is very high. "...high glutamate and glutamine content is advantageous for the developing small intestine."
Patent application 20070161541 invented by Marian L. Kruzel et al called "Insult induced immune dissonance," mentions not only the Nichols patent from 1987 but a study by Brock called "Lactoferrin in human milk its role in iron absorption and protection against enteric infection in newborn infants." ArchDisChild. 1980; 55, 417-421.
There are a number of other patents on short gut/short bowel syndrome using human milk components to treat or prevent this problem. It would seem to be advantageous that infants and in particular preterm infants get the real thing, their own mother's milk--fresh not frozen or pasteurized according to some patents. We are acquiring meds, supplements and infant formula based on what human milk properties can do to prevent or treat short gut syndrome and NEC.
Yet, I think there are many health care professionals and parents who haven't a clue that human milk builds and protects the intestinal tract. Good food, good medicine.