Two Norwegian scientists have discovered a new molecule which could greatly reduce two of the biggest challenges in today’s health care: Cancer and multi-resistant bacteria. The Lytix-peptide derived from colostrum has a lofty potential, and hopefully human testing will soon confirm the initial results.
The Norwegian professors John Sigurd Svendsen of organic chemistry and Øystein Rekdal of biochemistry has started human testing with the Lytix-peptide. It’s a molecule found in colostrum, which has shown to have potential both as an antibiotic and to kill cancer cells. The discovery was made when the scientists tried to produce the peptide called lactoferricin1, but where they tried to only produce half the molecule. They expected it to have less of a bacterial effect than the complete molecule, but the results were actually the opposite; it had an even greater ability of killing bacterias than the complete molecule. Multi-resistant bacteria is one of the biggest issues in modern medicine, since some types of antibiotics that were once life-saving medicine are now worthless. The need for something new to help us fight those bacterias are great and perhaps this peptide will help us win this battle which we are close to loosing.
“It was ghastly exciting. We had done something all scientists dream of: We had plowed untouched land and found something new. We had seen that the molecules we designed in the laboratory had the desired effect on the biological system”, states Svendsen.
…perhaps this peptide will help us win this battle which we are close to loosing
This was however not the only positive effect of the drug which the researchers discovered. They tested the peptide against cancer cells in mice and to their amazement it seemed it could also effectively kill cancer cells. The outer layer of cancer cells was peeled away and within 20 minutes the cell was gone. The peptide triggered an inflammatory reaction in the body, which made the body’s own immune system react and investigate the situation. This effect lead to the immune system learning to recognize cancer cells as alien, thereby preventing a relapse.
“A discovery like this is something that rarely happens in a researcher’s life. And we were completely alone with it. You have a feeling that everything you touch turns to gold. We were at work all the time – both mentally and physically. It was like surfing on a wave that lasted and lasted and lasted. A wonderful feeling”, remembers Svendsen.
…it seemed it could also effectively kill cancer cells
Their results from the lab has been great so far, but the human testing of Lytix-peptide only started in 2009 and the first results will be ready this year. It is still about five or six years until the researchers know whether they have been successful, and if Lytix-peptide is the future of medicine. By that time it has been over 20 years since their research began. Let’s hope it will not have been a waste!
1 Lactoferricin is a peptide of the protein lactoferrin found in milk. Proteins are molecules made up of amino acids linked together in a chain. Peptides are short chains of amino acids that are built up in the same way as proteins.