Research projects

By consenting to provide a sample of your donated breast milk for research projects, you will help researchers better understand human milk's unique properties and improve existing treatments. These scientific advances will benefit the population as a whole. 

Here are the ongoing research projects.

Development of an irradiation process to decontaminate mother’s milk

The objective is to develop an irradiation process that will ensure the safety of mother’s milk while preserving its biological and nutritional properties.

Human milk will be irradiated at different doses to evaluate which ones are successful in reducing the main pathogens that can be found in the milk.

The research project will evaluate, among other things, the possibility of reducing the dose of radiation required to ensure the safety of mother`s milk through a combination of treatments (for example, adding nutrients containing antimicrobial properties, such as vitamin C.) The protein, fat and lactose content will also be studied.

Impact of probiotic-enriched powdered human milk

The research project is evaluating the impact of probiotic-enriched powdered human milk on the intestinal microbiota, modulation of the immune system and reduction in the incidence of diseases associated with aging and obesity.

The objective is to develop a food derived from powdered human milk that could be used to improve the health of adults suffering from obesity, cancer, hypertension and metabolic syndrome.

Development of tests to measure the quality and effectiveness of breast milk banked at Héma-Québec

Héma-Québec provides pasteurized human milk to infants who require medical care because they were born preterm at 32 weeks’ gestation or earlier and whose mother cannot breastfeed.

Prior to being banked, human milk undergoes several tests. Some of these must be performed over several days, which presents a number of challenges.

Human milk contains many elements that explain its ability to prevent the development of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious intestinal illness. No test is currently available, however, to detect these elements.

By consenting to provide a sample of your donated breast milk for research projects, you are helping us develop various tests to address these two issues and, at the same time, better meet the needs of infants born extremely preterm.

Study of the Characteristics, Composition and Effects of Human Milk on Colitis in Mice

Commercial cow’s milk compares favourably with human milk, which is the complete food recommended for newborns up to the age of six months. It differs, however, on its abundance. Its ready availability makes it possible to explore and document several of its molecules. The aim of this study is to transpose the results obtained from the analysis of commercial cow’s milk to human milk and, more specifically, to:

  • Identify and isolate the molecules of human milk that have beneficial properties; and
  • Compare the beneficial effects of human milk with those of commercial cow’s milk in animal models of diseases affecting humans.

Thanks to your participation in this study, we hope to develop a formulation that has nutritional and therapeutic properties that are beneficial.

Questions?

For any question about your rights or if you have a complaint to be formulated, you can communicate with the administration office of the Héma-Québec Research Ethics Board at 514-832-5000, extension 5370, or toll free at 1-888-666-4362, extension 5370.