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Despite worsening prematurity birth rate, odds of survival improving with NICU adoption of Prolacta's 100% human milk-based fortifiers

Preemies Experience Healthy Growth and Brain Development with Fewer Complications and Go Home from the NICU Sooner When Fed Prolacta’s Donor Breastmilk-Based Fortifiers Instead of Cow Milk Fortifier

DUARTE, Calif., Nov. 19, 2019 – Prolacta Bioscience®, the world’s leading hospital provider of 100% human milk-based nutritional products, is helping neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) care for the growing number of infants born prematurely in the United States. Prolacta’s human milk-based fortifiers (made from 100% donor breastmilk) deliver the specific nutrition needed to foster preemies’ healthy growth and brain development.

Preemies are at a very high risk of death and serious short- and long-term health problems,1 but an exclusive human milk diet that includes Prolacta’s fortifiers, made from 100% donor breastmilk instead of cow milk, helps to improve outcomes and reduce mortality and complications in the NICU.2 Today, nearly 40% of all U.S. Level III and IV NICUs rely on Prolacta’s human milk-based neonatal nutritional products.

According to the March of Dimes 2019 Report Card, the premature birth rate in the United States now exceeds 10% of all births and has consistently worsened over the last four years. As of yet, no clear cause for the increased preterm birth rate has been identified. However, care for preemies in the NICU has advanced dramatically in recent years, resulting in better outcomes for these vulnerable infants. This is largely because of a greater understanding and renewed focus on preemies’ nutritional needs.

“Like everyone who works to improve the care of infants in the NICU, we are concerned about the increasing rate of premature births in the United States,” said Melinda Elliott, M.D., chief medical officer at Prolacta. “We at Prolacta are dedicated to ensuring that babies born early not only get the best possible start in life, but also go on to thrive with a lifetime full of opportunity, just as if they were born at term.”

Prolacta’s 100% human milk-based fortifiers are clinically proven to reduce complications,3 improve health,4 support brain development and get preemies home where they belong sooner compared to preemies who are fed cow milk-based nutrition.

Nutrition is important, as preemies miss out on a final, crucial growth spurt during the third trimester, when they should be receiving continuous nutrition via the umbilical cord. The challenge in the NICU is more to ensure they meet the intense caloric targets (20% to 40% more calories than a full-term baby) to catch up. The additional calories, protein and essential nutrients can be provided with a nutritional fortifier. Unfortunately, traditional fortifiers made from cow milk have been linked with life-threatening complications.5

Many of the challenges of premature infant nutrition were addressed with the advent of Prolacta’s fortifiers — made from 100% human breastmilk. Now, preemies can receive the nutrition they desperately need with a much lower risk of complications.6 Looking forward to as far as 2 years old, use of Prolacta’s fortifiers in the NICU has been shown to help preemies catch up on the growth they missed without the metabolic consequences (e.g., increased adiposity and insulin resistance) that are seen when they receive cow milk-based nutrition.7

“Determining why preterm births are increasing in the United States is an important area of research,” said Dr. Elliott. “But until experts uncover the causes so they can be addressed, we at Prolacta will continue to provide nutritional options that give preemies the best possible chance in life.”

About Prolacta Bioscience

Prolacta Bioscience® Inc. is a privately held life sciences company dedicated to Advancing the Science of Human Milk®. Prolacta is the world’s leading hospital provider of 100% human milk-based nutritional products that are changing the standard of care for extremely premature infants. In addition, the company is exploring the therapeutic potential of human milk across a wide spectrum of human diseases, including applications for infants requiring surgery for congenital cardiac and gastrointestinal disorders. Operating the world’s first pharmaceutical-grade human milk processing facilities, Prolacta leads the industry with the highest quality and safety standards for the screening and testing of donor milk. Prolacta is a global company with headquarters in Duarte, California, and can be found online at, on Twitter @prolacta, on Instagram @prolacta_bioscience, on Facebook at and LinkedIn at

Media Contact:

Loren Kosmont


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preterm Birth.
2 Abrams SA, et al. Greater mortality and morbidity in extremely preterm infants fed a diet containing cow milk protein products. Breastfeed Med. June 2014. 9(6): 281-0285. doi:10.1089/bfm.2014.0024.
3 Assad M, et al. Decreased cost and improved feeding tolerance in VLBW infants fed an exclusive human milk diet. J Perinatol. March 2016. 36:216-220. doi: 10.1038/jp.2015.168.
4  Hair AB, Peluso AM, Hawthorne KM, et al. Beyond necrotizing enterocolitis prevention: improving outcomes with an exclusive human milk–based diet. Breastfeed Med. 2016;11(2):70-74doi:10.1089/bfm.2015.0134.
5 Paul SP, Kirkham EN, Hawton KA, Mannix PA. Feeding growth restricted premature neonates: a challenging perspective. Pediatrics. 2018 Mar;141(3). pii: e20172169. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-2169. Epub 2018 Feb 13.
6 Ganapathy V, Hay JW, Kim JH. Costs of necrotizing enterocolitis and cost-effectiveness of exclusively human milk-based products in feeding extremely premature infants. Breastfeed Med. 2012 Feb;7(1):29-37. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2011.0002.
7 Visuthranukul C, Abrams SA, Hawthorne KM, et al. Premature small for gestational age infants fed an exclusive human milk-based diet achieve catch-up growth without metabolic consequences at 2 years of age. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2019 May;104(3):F242-F247. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2017-314547.