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Exclusive breast milk-based nutrition for premature infants on the rise, reports Prolacta Bioscience

Prematurity Awareness Month Marked by Growing Use of Human Milk-Based Products in Neonatal Intensive Care Units

MONROVIA, Calif. Nov. 1, 2011 – Marking the first day of National Prematurity Awareness Month, Prolacta Bioscience is reporting growing use of their human milk-based products in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) across the country. Prolacta is the only company to make a human milk fortifier (HMF) from human milk, as opposed to cow milk, for critically ill, premature infants in the NICU. Some hospitals using Prolacta’s Prolact+ H2MF® include Good Samaritan in San Jose, California, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida and River Oaks Hospital in Flowood, Mississippi.

Neonatologists prescribe the breast milk-based fortifier Prolact+ H2MF to extremely premature infants (those weighing two pounds 12 ounces or 1250 grams or less at birth). It is concentrated breast milk that is added to the mother’s breast milk or to donor milk (if a mother’s own milk is unavailable), in order to provide precise protein and caloric needs of the preemie. Prolact+ H2MF can only be administered in a hospital setting and cannot be purchased directly by consumers.

"River Oaks Hospital is proud to offer a human milk fortifier for extremely premature infants, made exclusively from human milk," said Dennis R. Bruns, President and CEO of River Oaks Hospital in Flowood, Mississippi. "It supports clinical findings that have been released over the past few years, pointing to the health benefits of human milk-based nutrition as opposed to cow-milk based nutrition."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a half-million babies in the United States (one in eight) are born prematurely each year.1 Prematurity occurs in infants who are born at less than 37 weeks of gestation, and it is the leading cause of death among newborn babies. Some preemies require special care and spend weeks or months hospitalized in a NICU before they are able to go home to their families.

Good Samaritan Hospital was the first NICU in Northern California to begin using Prolacta’s human milk products in July 2010. NICU physicians there implemented a protocol for all premature infants born weighing less than 1000g, to receive exclusively human milk for the first 60 days of life. This included mother’s own milk, donor human milk and human milk fortifier made by Prolacta.

“Our neonatologists made the early decision based on clear evidence of the beneficial effects of breast milk over cow milk products in preterm infants,” said Dr. Richard Powers, NICU medical director at Good Samaritan Hospital San Jose. “Clinical data on the effect of human milk fortified with Prolacta’s fortifier shows improved outcomes of extremely low birth weight premature infants, and this has proven true in our NICU, where we have seen improved early nutrition and a decreased incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, a life-threatening inflammatory complication of premature infants.”

The considerable growth of NICUs using human milk-based products has largely been due to clinical data pointing to the benefits of exclusive human milk nutrition over cow milk-based nutrition for very low birth weight infants. The Journal of Pediatrics published one of these studies in 2010. It concluded that when Prolact+ H2MF was added to human milk, the odds of developing the dangerous intestinal condition necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) was reduced by 77% in premature infants weighing between 500g and 1250g at birth, when compared to infants receiving human milk fortified with cow milk-based HMF, or compared to preterm infant formula when the supply or mother’s own milk was insufficient. Prolact+ H2MF is the only HMF that has been clinically proven to reduce the odds of developing NEC in infants born weighing between 500g and 1250g.

“The growing use of human milk-based nutrition for the most fragile preemies in the hospital is directly correlated with positive clinical results,” said Scott Elster, CEO of Prolacta Bioscience. “As more hospitals are adopting the use of Prolacta’s human milk-based fortifier for extremely premature infants in their NICUs, they are witnessing better outcomes.”

Johns Hopkins Hospital also released a recent study showing that extremely premature infants fed human donor milk (including human milk-based fortifier) are less likely to develop NEC, than babies fed preterm infant formula derived from cow milk. The study was the first of its kind to compare the risk of

developing NEC and requiring NEC surgery among premature infants on an exclusively human milk diet versus those fed preterm infant formula derived from cow milk (and did not receive human milk, regardless of the source).

Additionally, a cost-effectiveness study concluded that a 100% human milk-based diet that included Prolact+ H2MF for extremely premature infants may result in a net savings of medical care resources by reducing the incidence of NEC, when compared with feeding these infants HMF produced from cow milk. In this same study, extremely premature infants fed an exclusively human milk diet including Prolact+ H2MF, had lower expected costs of hospitalization and medical care, resulting in net direct savings of $8,167.17 per infant fed this diet.

About Prolacta Bioscience

Prolacta Bioscience, Inc. www.prolacta.com is a life science company dedicated to improving quality of life by Advancing the Science of Human MilkTM. Prolacta creates specialty formulations made exclusively from human milk for the nutritional needs of critically ill, premature infants in neonatal intensive care units. It is the first and only company to provide a human milk fortifier made from 100% human milk, Prolact+ H2MF. They operate a pharmaceutical grade processing plant and have designed and patented processes that enable them to make their one-of-a-kind life-saving products. Prolacta is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of the most vulnerable infants through world-class research and innovative products.

Media Contact:

Loren Kosmont loren@pstrategies.net 310-721-9444

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2010). Premature Birth. In 2010 CDC Features. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PrematureBirth