UC Davis Researchers Enhance Goats’ Milk to Treat Diarrhea

UC Davis Researchers Enhance Goats’ Milk to Treat Diarrhea


UC Davis researchers have engineered dairy
goats to produce large amounts of the protein lysozyme in their
milk, giving it the ability to attack bacteria related to
childhood diarrhea, a major cause of death among children in
developing parts of the world.>>The 2011 WHO’s statistics, World Health
Organization statistics, over 1.8 million children in the world died from,
essentially, consequences of diarrhea. Lysozyme is an enzyme which actually
digests bacteria. So it destroys certain kinds of bacteria
by digesting the outer cell wall that holds
them together. It’s anti-microbial and it’s something
which is at very high levels in human milk but normally low levels in the milk of a
ruminant like this, these goats behind me. And so we’ve now tried to put that protein
into milk of ruminants so that it would be available then to young children in the world who are suffering from things like
debilitating diarrhea. We’ve done a lot of work already to show
that the consuming the milk would be safe, in the sense that we fed it to healthy
pigs, we fed it to healthy kid goats. So we know the milk’s safe to consume, but
we still need to do more work on whether, for instance, if we feed the milk before
you get sick will it prevent you from getting
disease. We don’t know that yet. So, there’s still a little bit of work to
be done in the pigs, another year or two. And then the next step after that would
actually be to try human trials and see if, in
fact, it has the same effect in humans that we see in the pig, which is what we would
expect.>>The research isn’t limited to UC Davis
anymore. As the program has parted with a Madrigal
school and private university in Brazil.>>Well, we’re moving the genetics for
these goats to Brazil so that they’ll then have the goats in Brazil, as
well as having them here. And ultimately, in fact, we’re working
with a medical school and a, a private university in northeastern Brazil,
where they actually have childhood diarrhea as a
problem. They also have a group that studies this
in children and they have a clinical trial center so that we can ultimately do human clinical trials and
make sure that A, it’s safe for humans, which you
swallow it every time you swallow, you eat lysozyme, and that it actually has
the effects that we expect to see.

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