Camels, both Dromedary (a one-hump camel) and Bactrian (a two-hump camel) are part of a family of animals called the Camelidae family.
Members of the Camelidae family are called Camelids. Other animals in the Camelidae family are llamas, alpacas, vicuña and guanacos.
Camels share with their Camelid brethren tiny antibodies in their milk, called nanobodies.
An antibody, also known as an immunoglobulin, is a large, Y-shaped protein produced mainly by plasma cells that is used by the immune system to neutralize pathogens (an organism that causes disease) such as bacteria and viruses. A nanobody is one arm of one Y.
Why are the Camelid Antibodies Different?
Researchers have been testing these nanobodies for 20 years, as these animals produce these unusual, small antibodies that are only about half the size of the conventional version of an antibody. Compared with conventional antibodies, the molecules and even tinier fragments of them (nanobodies), can work inside human cells, and their size allows them to wend deep into tissues, which regular antibodies have a hard time penetrating.
Scientists have known about these tiny proteins since the late 1980s, when scientists at the Free University of Brussels stumbled across them. However, “Since 2012, the field has really taken off,” says biochemist Hidde Ploegh of Boston Children’s Hospital.
Work with Camelids has been done at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Within the last few months, research being conducted at the University of Ghent in Belgium on camelid antibodies has been covered by the European and US media. These mini antibodies are currently being researched as something that could potentially be utilized in medicine to effectively treat particular diseases.
By drinking camel milk, you have the potential to benefit from these unique antibodies right now!