A molecule based on a natural protein present in human breast milk, which has been found to have strong and wide-ranging tumour killing properties when bound to certain lipids. Lipids are organic molecules like amino acids and carbohydrates, made up of carbon and hydrogen, and help to store energy and to form biological membranes.
The protein-lipid molecule complex, is known as HAMLET, which stands for Human Alpha-lactabumin Made Lethal to Tumour cells. It has been proven to be safe and effective as it only targets tumour cells, leaving healthy human cells intact.
HAMLET has most recently been shown to successfully suppress colon cancer in laboratory mice.
The scientists have also successfully identified and isolated specific components of HAMLET called peptide-oleate bound forms, which have the tumour-killing effect. Peptides are short chain amino acids commonly found in the human body.
These latest breakthroughs are led by Professor Catharina Svanborg and Dr Manoj Puthia from Lund University, Sweden, and Professor Gerhard Grüber from NTU's School of Biological Sciences. The HAMLET complex was first discovered by Professor Svanborg's research group.
The findings were published recently in Gut and in PLoS ONE. The researchers found that laboratory mice genetically modified to develop colon cancer, were protected to a large extent when fed with HAMLET- laced water. This suggested that HAMLET was killing emerging tumour cells faster than these cells could grow and proliferate.
Ref : http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0053051