A probiotic developed from dairy cultures has been shown by New Zealand researchers to have significant long term benefits for children suffering from eczema, around one in five children.
Lacto-bacillus rhamnosus HN001 has previously been shown to reduce by 50% the occurrence of eczema symptoms in children up to two years of age.
Now a follow-up study published in the international journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy, shows that this reduction in symptoms continues until four years old, even though the children stopped taking the probiotic at two.
Fonterra senior scientist James Dekker said HN001 may be able to modify the immune system early in a child’s development, to deliver long term benefits with no discernible side effects.
The study was carried out by the University of Otago’s Wellington Asthma Research Group, with funding provided by the NZ Health Research Council and Fonterra.
Professor Julian Crane, one of the study’s authors, said the latest findings showed that HN001 has a long-term protective effect and could be an effective solution in reducing the risk of eczema development in children with a family history of allergy.
Meanwhile a group of scientists in Sweden earlier found that milk protein lactoferricin4-14 (Lfcin4-14) significantly reduces the growth rate of colon cancer cells by prolonging the period of the cell cycle before chromosomes are replicated.
In a new study, investigators report that treatment with Lfcin4-14 reduced DNA damage in colon cancer cells exposed to ultraviolet light.
Professor Stina Oredsson, of the Department of Biology at the University of Lund, said that cancer cells, in general, have defects in the DNA repair mechanisms. Thus, Lfcin4-14 may have a greater effect on normal cells than on cancer cells.
"Our data suggest that the effects of Lfcin4-14 in prolonging the cell cycle may contribute to the cancer preventive effect of milk. This must be further investigated in different systems," she concluded.