Nestle invention? Osteoprotegerin in milk--human

"In the studies leading to the present invention, it has now surprisingly been found that in addition to its presence in e.g. the bone tissues, osteoprotegerin may also be found in human breast milk."

Surprise, surprise, surprise, I love surprises, don't you?

"The present invention pertains to osteoprotegerin obtainable from milk sources, in particular human and bovine milk."

Patent # 7749960 owned by Nestec, S.S. [Nestle] called, "Osteoprotegerin in milk," filed in October 2003. Inventors are Karine Vidal, Peter Van Den Broek, Elizabeth Offord Cavin, and Anne Donnet-Hughes. This invention is to be used in the treatment of disorders associated with bone remodeling or immune disorders. The list of disorders is long and interesting: "allergy, autoimmunity, inflammatory bowel disease, systemic autoimmune conditions, dysregulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis and immunopathological conditions of the skin, the oral cavity, the gastrointestinal, urogenital or respiratory tracts." Also, " disorders associated with prematurity and/or low birth weight."

The patent goes on to state, "In particular individuals, such as newborns, require osteoprotegerin for the development of bone material and/or the immune system..." Nestle will be providing a pharmaceutical composition, a food material, or an enteral composition made from this material--osteoprotegerin from human milk...

The patent is focused on human milk not bovine milk for obtaining osteoprotegerin. "Human breast milk samples (10-60ml) from healthy mothers were collected up to 17 days post-partum underster sterile conditions." Who supplied Nestle with breastmilk? Did breastfeeding mothers understand who their milk was going to? Were they paid or did they just donate it?

The patent goes on about the cloning of human milk osteoprotegerin in yeast-Yarrowia lipolytica. Their first claim, " A food material comprising an osteoprotegerin isolated from human or bovine milk or colostrum." They have a number of claims in this patent for methods of making the food material derived from human and bovine osteoprotegerin (although I see nothing in patent related to bovine milk). But their first claim is for the MATERIAL they have isolated from human milk. Ownership of human milk cells by Nestle, should we be surprised? Should we be surprised that preterm infants have to have fortified human milk because supposedly they don't get enough calcium? Who owns the research and why do we believe that research?
Copyright 2011 Valerie W. McClain

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