Leading Edge / Spring 2001
Breast Milk a Baby-Booster

Breast milk protein jump-starts the immune system in newborns

An international team led by a U of T scientist has identified a breast milk protein that jump-starts the immune system in newborns. “We’ve always known breastfeeding was a really good idea, now we know why,” says Professor Michael Julius, former chair of immunology and now vice-president of research at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. While babies of mothers who do not breastfeed will still develop normal immune systems, Julius says breastfed babies will be healthier and more robust. Julius and his colleagues will now examine a commercial role for the protein, including possibly fortifying baby formula. The research was conducted at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute of the University Health Network

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