This patent is based on the finding that breast milk probiotic strains are transferred to the mammary gland after oral intake, exerting a therapeutic effect against the pathogens which cause mastitis, reducing its incidence.
Mastitis is an inflammatory condition of the breast normally associated with lactation. Staphylococcus has been considered the most common cause of mastitis but other genus such as Streptococcus can be involved.
During breastfeeding, women can experience a range of breastfeeding problems, such as breast and nipple pain, nipple cracks and mastitis. These problems make lactation difficult and, in some cases, lead women to stop breastfeeding.
The condition can affect around 15% of women during lactation although this value can reach as high as 40% when clinical mastitis cases are considered.
“Currently mastitis is treated with analgesics but this treatment does not solve the infection problem,” said BioSearchLife’s scientific director Dr Mónica Olivares.
“In cases of mastitis showing severe pain, antibiotics are prescribed. However, the microorganisms responsible for mastitis usually generate biofilms and antibiotic resistance which causes failed therapies or recurrences that ultimately lead to the abandonment of breastfeeding.”
The European patent, (nº EP2162143) “Mammalian milk microorganisms, compositions containing them and their use for the treatment of mastitis,” refers to a process for the selection of microorganisms that could make up the probiotic treatment.
The company isolated lactic acid bacteria or Bifidobacteria strains present in fresh milk from a mammalian species by selection in lactic acid culture media.
The strains transferable to the mammary gland after oral intake and/or able to colonise the mammary gland after its topic application were isolated for further investigation.
Bacterial strains, which showed efficacy by reducing the rates of survival and/or the rates of adhesion to epithelial cells of Staphylococcus aureus, then formed the platform for a treatment for mastitis.
Probiotic strains under investigation were selected from the group of Bifidobacterium breve, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus reuteri.
Further details of the patent revealed a potential for the probiotic strains to be used in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders; inflammatory or auto-immune disorders, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and of tumour growth, metastasis and cancer.
News of Biosearch Life’s successful patent application follows one made last year, in which the firm would target ‘unexplored’ applications with its application for probiotic strains it said could help control hypercholesterolemia.
The company said animal model studies from the University of Granada had demonstrated a combination of two strains - Lactobacillus reuteri isolated from cow milk and a Bifidobacterium breve from human milk - may regulate cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Source: WIPO Publication No. WO/2008/145756
Published: April 12th, 2008 Filed: February 6th, 2008
“Mammalian milk microorganisms, compositions containing them and their use for the treatment of mastitis”
Authors: Puleva Biotech, S.A, MJ, Rocio, OM, Monica et al.
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