Selective Antimicrobial Peptides From Human Milk For Treatment Of Severe Infections

Tech ID: 31892 / UC Case 2020-029-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed human milk-derived peptides that have demonstrated broad-spectrum, antibacterial, activity against a variety of harmful pathogens - without these peptides harming most, non-pathogenic, bacterial, flora.

Full Description

Fetuses and infants with developing immune systems are at high-risk of bacterial infections - which can lead to a variety of severe or life-threatening medical conditions. Currently, the antibiotics used to treat these conditions can have detrimental effects on the patient’s immature gut microbiome. These antibiotics can neutralize both harmful and beneficial bacteria present. By contrast, antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are naturally occurring, amino acid chains that help neutralize harmful, pathogenic bacteria without affecting many non-pathogenic, bacterial flora.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed peptides derived from human milk that have exhibited antibacterial activity against a number of bacterial pathogens. The development of these AMPs offer an alternative to current antibiotics – and mitigate the risk of subjecting the patient to antimicrobials that will potentially disrupt the positive benefits of helpful bacteria found in the patient’s microbiome. AMPs also work more quickly to kill pathogens and evidence a lower risk of generating resistant mutants. In other applications, these peptides can act as a safe and effective microbial agent for preventing the growth of undesirable bacteria in foods, beverages, consumer products, cosmetics, and health products.


  •        Potential antibacterial for humans or animals and their surrounding environments
  •        Can be used as either an inoculant or to prevent undesirable growth across a variety of industries



  •          Both preventing a wide variety of bacterial pathogens and treating their negative impacts
  •          Prevent bacterial growth on consumer products (food, beverages, cosmetics, etc.)
  •          Limits disruptions to complex microbiome systems, such as those present in infants, women, and animals otherwise at higher risk of infections. Also a safer treatment option for “at-risk” patients
  •          Less likely to generate resistant mutants
  •          Proven effective against conditions that can lead to reproductive challenges for women


Patent Status

Patent Pending


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  • German, Bruce
  • Lebrilla, Carlito B.
  • Mills, David A.
  • Shah, Ishita

Other Information


Antibacterial, Peptide, Pathogen, Bacterial infections, Antimicrobial, Microbiome, Immunocompromised

Categorized As