Humanized milk: cloning to create a better infant formula

Remember Dolly, the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell? She was cloned at the Roslin Institute/PPL Therapeutics in Scotland in 1996. PPL Therapeutics was also located in Blacksburg, Virginia. The donor cell was taken from the mammary gland of a different breed of sheep. Remember, mammary gland. Remember that all mammary glands have totipotent stem cells. The US public is quite oblivious to our technological advances in creating a better infant formula. I wrote and talked about cloning in 2000. Back then I wrote about transgenic herds around the world. Not too many people believed me. In fact, I got the feeling they thought I was jumping to conclusions. Now that the FDA has approved cloned milk and meat for US consumption, one would think the public would understand that cloning is not something that will happen in the future but has already happened...some time ago. FDA approval has come about because these products were already being consumed by the public. The same thing happened with genetically engineered crops. The US public has been eating it for some time without knowing about it. Who needs labels on foods? I imagine the FDA believes that Americans don't read labels anyway and don't care where their food comes from. I don't believe that but why else would there be such massive deception about our food? Well, yeah, maybe the regulators are just part and parcel of the corporate system that is ramming this technology down our throats?
I guess the shocking part is that this system is so willing to make guinea pigs of our babies. And the ideology is that women can't and don't want to breastfeed so we are going to invent a better infant formula. No questions are asked about whether the reason for not breastfeeding is partially created by corporate marketing of products. Or that birthing has become a medical technological nightmare which impacts breastfeeding. Or that US society creates enormous financial hardships on women who have babies. Unless a woman is financially well-off, the burden of earning a living means abandonment of her baby to other caregivers.
So here we are at the Edge, a society whose brightest and best are creating a better infant formula. What does that mean? Genetic engineering. Cloned milks.
In past posts, I wrote about BSSL, bile salt-stimulated lipase, a human milk enzyme not found in cow's milk and because it is an enzyme, heat destroys most of it. In a article written in the Biology of Reproduction authored by researchers from PPL Therapeutics of Roslin, UK and Blacksburg, Virgina in 2002,
"The transgene used in these studies codes for a potentially therapeutic protein, bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL). BSSL is an orally active enzymatic protein that is normally produced by the human pancrease and is present in human breast milk and that helps break down fats to make them more available for use by the digestive system. This protein has significant potential for use in replacement therapy for patients with pancreatic insufficiency (including cystic fibrosis patients) and for premature infants who do not receive human breast milk."

PPL Therapeutics has a patent filed in January 1995 called, ".alpha.-lactalbumin gene constructs," patent # 5852224.
"The present invention utilizes genetic engineering techniques to prepare non-human transgenic mammals that express human .alpha.-lactalbumin in their milk at a concentration of 2 mg/ml or greater."

A patent by Pharming B.V. of Leiden, Netherlands filed in 1998 called "Production of recombinant polypeptides by bovine species and transgenic methods," patent #6066725 states, "The invention also includes transgenic bovine species capable of producing recombinant polypeptides in transgenic milk as well as the milk from such transgenic bovine species and food formulations containing one or more recombinant polypeptides."
Old patents, dated from the 90's, the companies have been sold and bought. Has this technology ended? Who is invested in making a better infant formula? Is it just the infant formula/pharmaceutical industries? Back in 1991, The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of (Washington, DC) owned a patent called, "Preparation of simulated human milk protein by low temperature microfiltration, " patent #5169666 stated, "Breast feeding is generally recognized as the preferred method of feeding human infants, however, when for a variety of reasons mother's milk is unavailable, infant formulas based on cow's milk are used. The use of modified or "humanized" bovine milk in infant formulas designed to simulate human milk as a substitute or supplement, has long been a subject of continuing research."
The patent is interesting to read because of the manipulations done to cow's milk to make it more human. I am fascinated that the US Government was so involved in developing a better infant formula. Patenting is monopolization, why is the government doing this? Simple I suppose... to make money. That was back in 1991 and we have come a long way to create a better infant formula, rather than filtration or ultrafiltration or microfiltration, we now take human genes and place those human milk component genes into cows. Is the US Governement still financially involved in creating a better infant formula?
Copyright 2011 Valerie W. McClain

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