Cow's Milk Allergies - Who Moo? (I Mean, Who Knew?)

Cow's Milk Allergies - Who Moo? (I Mean, Who Knew?)

10.02.12 | By

Scientific advances can be pretty thrilling. Just a few minutes ago, I was looking at my Twitter feed and saw a post on the Time Healthland blog about researchers genetically modifying a cow to produce low-allergy milk.

For me this was big news.

My daughter was born with a milk allergy, but it wasn't until month one that I realized something just wasn't right. Shortly after I ate a very strong Spanish cheese, I noticed that she was growing a little uncomfortable. I chalked it up to her being hungry or maybe a little gas. But it wasn't until she started vomiting (more than the usual spit up) and having bloody stool did I get alarmed.

After an emergency room visit and several appointments with gastroenterologists did I hear the news that my daughter had a milk allergy.

Milk allergies in babies are rare but are becoming more common. It is estimated that between two to three percent of babies born in the U.S. have a milk protein allergy.

One of the specialists said that it takes a while for humans to break down milk in their bodies (it takes about three weeks) so it would be best if I could supplement my daughter with special hypoallergenic formula. And so I did.

My daughter thrived on the special formula and my husband and I had peace of mind knowing that she was developing as she should because of the options that were available for infants with these kinds of allergies.

Late last year, at a meeting with PhRMA member company communicators, I pulled aside an individual who represented the company that developed the hypoallergenic formula that my daughter lived on for several months. I thanked her (and her company) for providing my daughter with the means to be healthy. With a tear in my eye, I told her that I don't know what I would have done if no such options had existed.

At PhRMA, we often talk about the incredible benefits of medicines developed by the companies we represent. But today's Time post reminded me that we should also give credit to researchers who expand the scientific boundaries to provide patients with other effective treatment options (that also help parents like me put their minds at ease).

The news about genetically modified cow's milk is yet another example of the power of science and its potential to help millions of patients worldwide with allergies. But for me, it was also a reminder of the patient-centric approach taken by biopharmaceutical scientists who strive to advance medical innovation by developing life-enhancing medicines and other products (such as hypoallergenic formula) for patients, including infants, with severe allergies.

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