What is the Hamlet Complex

Milestone in cancer research - this substance found in breast milk kills tumor cells

HAMLET is able to kill cancer cells

More and more people in the world are developing various forms of cancer. This makes it clear that there is an urgent need to improve the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. Researchers found that a substance found in breast milk can kill cancer cells.

A joint study by Lund University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that a substance found in breast milk is able to kill cancer cells. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "PLOS ONE".

HAMLET kills cells from bladder cancer

Although the substance known as HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumor cells) was discovered in breast milk a few years ago, it has only now been possible to test it in humans. Bladder cancer patients treated with the substance excreted dead cancer cells in their urine after treatment, which raised hopes that HAMLET could be expanded into drugs for the treatment of cancer in the future.

Hamlet was discovered by accident

HAMLET was originally discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. Further studies then showed that HAMLET contains a protein and a fatty acid, both of which are naturally found in breast milk. So far, however, it has not been proven that the HAMLET complex forms spontaneously in milk. Nevertheless, it is speculated that HAMLET can form in the acidic environment of the baby's stomach, the researchers report.

40 different types of cancer cells were killed

Laboratory experiments have shown that HAMLET kills cells from 40 different types of cancer, and the researchers are now studying the effects on skin cancer, tumors of the mucous membranes and brain tumors. It is important to mention that HAMLET only kills cancer cells and does not affect healthy cells.

More research is needed

The experts at the University of Gothenburg focused their research on how HAMLET can be absorbed by tumor cells. They try to understand the interactions of the substance with cell membranes. More research is needed, but it is to be hoped that at some point HAMLET can be used to make drugs that kill cancer cells in the human body. This would be a big step in combating the global risk of cancer. (as)

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Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.

  • Ann-Kristin Mossberg, Maja Puchades, Øyvind Halskau, Anne Baumann, Ingela Lanekoff et al .: HAMLET Interacts with Lipid Membranes and Perturbs Their Structure and Integrity, in PLOS ONE (accessed: 07/19/2019), PLOS ONE

Important NOTE:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.