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-Breast milk contains a substance nicknamed Hamlet that can kill tumour cells
-The substance in the milk can home in on the bad cells without killing good cells
-Patients injected with Hamlet could start shedding dead cells within days
Breast milk is being used to fight cancer after scientists accidentally discovered it contains a substance that kills tumour cells.
Trials in patients with bladder cancer have already yielded promising results and researchers believe the compound breast milk contains – nicknamed Hamlet – will also help tackle bowel cancer and cervical cancer.
They also say it homes in on cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed – so it has none of the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy.
Professor Catharina Svanborg, who made the initial discovery, said last night: ‘There’s something magical about Hamlet’s ability to target tumour cells and kill them.’
She said human breast milk contained a protein called alpha-lactalbumin, which is transformed into a cancer-fighting agent when in the gut.
Prof Svanborg, an immunologist at Lund University in Sweden, made the chance discovery that the substance kills tumour cells when working on antibiotics.