A US firm is looking to commercialise breast milk by selling it to hospitals for the treatment of sick babies.

Prolacta Bioscience, a small company just outside Los Angeles, also wants to carry out research to develop breast milk-based therapies.



Breast milk, with its minerals, digestive enzymes and antibodies, has long been credited with keeping babies healthy and boosting intelligence.



But experts said it would put pressure on mothers to sell their milk.



Until now breast milk donation in the US and UK has largely been confined to a handful of non-profit milk banks that collect milk on a local basis to provide it to premature and sick infants whose mothers struggle to breast feed.



But Prolacta is aiming to buy donated breast milk from independent milk banks and hospitals across the US, pasteurise it and sell it back to hospitals to treat low-birth weight babies.



It is also looking to supply it for babies with heart defects, who need surgery and are at risk of infection, and children who are being given chemotherapy for cancer.



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