News Release

Potent protein heals wounds, boosts immunity and protects from cancer

Special issue on disease fighting properties of lactoferrin

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Canadian Science Publishing

Ottawa, Ontario (April 30, 2012)–Lactoferrin is an important iron-binding protein with many health benefits. The major form of this powerful protein, is secreted into human biofluids (e.g. milk, blood, tears, saliva), and is responsible for most of the host-defense properties. Because of the many beneficial activities associated with it, researchers are starting to use lactoferrin as a potential therapeutic protein. And, in contrast to many other therapeutic proteins, which need to be injected into patients, lactoferrin can be orally active. Lactoferrin is the subject of the upcoming June issue of the journal Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

"We now know that lactoferrin is a protein that has many functions in innate immunity and that it plays a role in protecting us from bacterial, viral, fungal, and protozoal infections. It can even protect us from some forms of cancer," says special issue guest editor Dr. Hans Vogel, a professor at the University of Calgary. "Some people describe this protein as the 'Swiss army knife' of the human host defense system. In part it does all this by binding iron, but many other properties of the protein contribute to its function."

This special issue comprises 27 articles and review papers contributed by leading international researchers. The role of lactoferrin on skin wound healing; impacts of lactoferrin on small intestinal growth and development during early life; and use of bovine lactoferrin on the inhibition of influenza and in the prevention of preterm delivery associated with sterile inflammation are among the studies presented.

One important contribution, already published online, is from a Chinese research group led by Professor Ning Li in Beijing. It shows that consumption of milk containing increased levels of the lactoferrin protein modulates the composition of the gut microflora, which in turn promotes health. This research relies on extensive biochemistry and molecular biology to produce the protein and to analyze the changes in the composition of the gut flora. While the article describes an animal model study, the results can probably be extended to humans. The research article titled Transgenic milk containing recombinant human lactoferrin modulates the intestinal flora in piglets is now available open access on the NRC Research Press website.


The Lactoferrin special issue (coming soon) in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Vol. 90, Issue 3, published by the NRC Research Press at

The introduction to the special issue by Dr. Hans Vogel is available open access at

Full Reference

Hu et al. 2012. Transgenic milk containing recombinant human lactoferrin modulates the intestinal flora in piglets. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 90(3), DOI: 10.1139/o2012-003. [This article is available Open Access at]

About the Journal

Published since 1929, Biochemistry and Cell Biology is a bimonthly journal that explores every aspect of general biochemistry and includes up-to-date coverage of experimental research into cellular and molecular biology, as well as review articles on topics of current interest and notes contributed by recognized international experts. Special issues each year are dedicated to expanding new areas of research in the fields of biochemistry and cell biology. Editor: Dr. James R. Davie – University of Manitoba.

About the Publisher

NRC Research Press, which began as the publishing arm of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in 1929, transitioned in September 2010 from NRC and the Federal Government of Canada into an independent not-for-profit organization operating under the new name Canadian Science Publishing. Canadian Science Publishing (which continues to operate its journals under the brand NRC Research Press) is the foremost scientific publisher in Canada, publishing 15 of its own journals and providing advanced electronic publishing services to its clients. With over 50 highly skilled experts and an editorial team comprising some of the world's leading researchers, NRC Research Press (Canadian Science Publishing) communicates scientific discoveries to over 175 countries.


Canadian Science Publishing operates under the brand NRC Research Press but is not affiliated with the National Research Council Canada. Papers published by Canadian Science Publishing are peer-reviewed by experts in their field. The views of the authors in no way reflect the opinions of Canadian Science Publishing or the National Research Council of Canada. Requests for commentary about the contents of any study should be directed to the authors.

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