NEOCOL - Cow-colostrum for newborns

The gastrointestinal tract and the immune system are particularly sensitive in premature infants, and mothers of these infants often have problems in initiating milk production and breastfeeding their newborns. Therefore, the NEOCOL project aims to find an alternative milk replacement in the form of cow-colostrum to promote childhood gastro-intestinal health, immunity and brain development the first weeks of life.

Women who give birth to premature children often have problems initiating milk production and breastfeeding their sensitive newborns the first weeks after birth, especially after very early birth (24-32 weeks of pregnancy). Worldwide, 15 million children are born prematurely (<37 weeks of pregnancy) and 1 million of these children die as a result of diseases during the first few weeks of life.

The NEOCOL project aims to find a supplement to human donor milk and infant formulas, which are difficult, expensive and non-optimal diets for premature infants. The project develops Danish special produced cow-colostrum (the first milk from cows who have just given birth) as a supplement to breast milk the first weeks after premature birth. This should promote gastro-intestinal health, immune defense and brain development in premature children.

The development of this colostrum product is based on results that have been obtained during the last 10 years using premature piglets, a recognized animal model for premature children, developed in Denmark under the leadership of Professor Per Sangild, who also leads the NEOCOL project. Tolerance and risk assessment of the cow-colostrum product has recently been tested in a smaller study in children in Denmark and China.

In NEOCOL, the production of cow-colostrum will be further optimized, as will further studies on the health effects of colostrum in pigs and in 2 major studies on early-born children in Denmark and China be conducted. The goal is that the studies will support the use of a new colostrum quality product to supplement nutrition with breast milk the first weeks after early childbirth.

Funded by:

Project: NEOCOL - Cow-colostrum for newborns
Period:  April 2017 - March 2022
Grant donor: Innovation Fund Denmark
Total grant: DKK 19,000,000
Total budget: DKK 38,000,000