School of Nursing
breast milk, stem cells
Maternal and Child Health | Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing | Pediatric Nursing | Women's Health
Peterson, Melody (Brooke), "The Presence of Stem Cells in Human Breast Milk and Research Implications" (2016). Senior Honors Theses. 582.
Stem cell therapy research is an expanding area of study as stem cell therapy is believed to have the potential to provide treatment options for numerous disease processes. Currently, embryonic stem cell research is the method of choice to evaluate the potential for stem cell therapy. The use of human embryos for stem cell research raises moral and ethical controversies. Stem cells are found in a variety of mediums, but until the recent discovery of stem cells in human breast milk, the most versatile stem cells have been those found in the human embryo. Human breast milk stem cells could offer a new and less controversial medium of study. Both pluripotent and multipotent stem cells have been found in breast milk samples. Breast milk could provide stem cells compatible for extensive research without the moral constraints of embryonic stem cell research. The implications of such a find could mean increased stem cell availability for further investigation into the therapeutic use of stem cells in the management, treatment, and cure for a wide variety of health ailments. Human breast milk stem cells offer specific therapeutic potentials based on their particular affinities that other stem cell sources lack.