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The Best Medicine: Serving Up Medication via Ice Cream

LactoPharma, a New Zealand-based pharmaceutical company, devotes its research to finding medically valuable biologically active compounds in milk. In itself, that’d be a cool enough line of research, but they’ve outdone themselves with their latest, experimental delivery system: putting biomedicine in ice cream.

LactoPharma has collaborated with the largest dairy company in New Zealand, Fonterra, to develop ReCharge ice cream, a lactoferrin-rich ice cream that has shown promising results in early tests for cancer treatment:

Lactoferrin, a protein found in milk that possesses the power to impede tumor growth and improve intestinal immune response. Because side effects of chemotherapy include the destruction of neutrophils (while blood cells) and intestinal cells, which often leads to infection and digestive problems, University of Auckland biologist Geoff Krissansen decided to test bovine lactoferrin on chemotherapy patients to see whether it could counter these side effects.

The Scientist reports on the results:

Indeed, when fed to mice two weeks prior to chemotherapy, bovine lactoferrin helped increase immunoresponsive cytokines in the intestine, decreasing cell damage caused by chemo, and restored both red blood cell and neutrophil numbers…. The researchers also found that another bioactive component present naturally in milk—a type of “lipid fraction,” according to Krissansen—demonstrated similar results in mice. The scientists expect to publish these results in 2010.

(via DiscoBlog)

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