As early as 1956 Richard H. Cockrum was interested in the importance and function of the white blood cell population. By 1958 as a veterinary student at Iowa State University his interest had increased to the point that with the assistance of Dr. Getty, Department Chairman of Anatomy at ISU Veterinary College, he spent endless hours staining and dissecting lymph channels. During this time he became aware of work done in the 1890’s by Dr. Lansteiner on immune milk. This was his introduction to the idea of a biological approach to stimulate the animals’ own defense system.
Shortly after beginning practice 1963, Dr. Cockrum was summoned to the Woodward State Hospital dairy herd to discuss prevention of drug residue. Milk from a cow treated with antibiotics had contaminated the milk supply. A patient sensitive to antibiotics consumed this milk and became extremely ill. Dr Cockrum realized that something needed to be done to improve the safety of the food supply while still providing for animal health needs.
About this time there was an article published by a group of veterinarians from Australia describing an “immune response” in calves that had colostrum placed in the mouth but were not allowed to swallow it. Because the calves could not have absorbed the antibody (immunoglobulin or Ig) that colostrum is known for, there must be some component(s) that created a response by exposure to the mouth and throat. At this time there was little knowledge of factors in colostrum other than Ig. The science of immune function was still in its infancy. Even now this knowledge is far from complete.
It has long been known and understood that newborns of all species that receive colostrum from their mother have less health problems than newborns that are deprived of colostrum. This immune system response or improvement was attributed almost entirely to antibodies (immunoglobulins or Ig). Some species such as bovine have no passive transfer in utero. Some species such as dogs and cats have partial transfer of passive immunity in utero. Species such as man and monkey have complete passive antibody transfer in utero. All species require first milk for a greater resistance to infectious disease and a more competent immune system.
Because of Dr. Cockrum’s interest in preventative medicine and awareness of immune milk, he proceeded to develop a colostrum process in a pilot lab at his veterinary clinic. Two factors were evident to him very early: 1) hyper-immune milk works well for specific conditions and even though effective, it is limited to a small population of animals or people; and 2) first milking colostrum (harvested within the first six hours after calving and not combined with later milkings) produces the greatest, most dependable and consistent results. The second and subsequent milkings (transitional milk), vary in dependability of results and quantity of product required.
The first product produced was the colostral whey (ID-1®). It was successfully used orally in newborn calves and pigs with digestive and respiratory problems and times of stress such as weaning or vaccination. These treatments were done on an empirical basis since there was not adequate science to guide the amount required to elicit a response. The use of colostrum products was a factor in his practice becoming one of the largest in the United States. Now, as more information is available about the multiple receptors and communication pathways of the oro-naso-pharyngeal lining, it is easy to understand the reason for the effectiveness of the colostral whey used orally.
In 1979 Immuno-Dynamics was formed and named because of the immuno-dynamics of the cow’s udder. The logo describes life (drop of blood) and immune defense (latin gamma). In April of 1981 Dr. Cockrum sold his practice to devote himself full time to the study, research, processing and production of the highest quality colostrum products available.
As the products were standardized to thymosin Alpha-1 and Immunoglobulin G, close records were kept regarding the amount to use, frequency and duration for treatment of various conditions and species. As a veterinarian, Dr. Cockrum knew the differences in metabolic rates of different animals and started comparing these metabolic rates with the amounts needed by different animals and their age from the young to the old. Dr. Goldstine, then at George Washington University in Washington D.C., and studying recombinant thymosin Alpha-1 in mice, determined that the recombinant thymosin Alpha 1 was not as effective as the naturally occurring forms. It was discovered that when multiplying the amounts used in mouse studies to the size of a Holstein cow, calf, sow, gilt, pig, mare or foal and considering metabolism differences, the dosing regimen that Dr. Cockrum discovered empirically was virtually the same.
In 1985, realizing the change in the bio-active component balance caused by removing the fat and casein Dr. Cockrum instructed Mark Burton, to purchase a pilot size spray drier so that the colostrum could be kept in its intact and balanced state for further applications. The original dryer stood only 6’ tall. Mark modified this equipment in numerous ways and obtained samples of dried colostrum from various operating temperatures, pressures and hold times. These were assayed in house and by major universities so that the operating conditions would maintain the bio-activity of colostrum of the raw colostrum.
With dehydrated product available, it did not take long for Dr. Cockrum to utilize the benefits of a daily fed product for livestock, following on the preventative path laid 25 years earlier. These products (VitaPak-Dairy, Grow and Swine) are reducing infection, increasing production and improving food safety cost effectively in livestock today. The ability to produce food grade product, knowledge that the product is safe and effective orally and performs across species made use in humans inevitable.
In the late 1980’s the United States federal government assumed the states’ rights to license biological products. In order to do business across state lines it was required that companies comply with the Federal Virus Serum Toxin Act. Dr. Cockrum instructed Mark to begin the task of making the production facility (a 40 year old former cheese factory) compliant with the veterinary biologics regulations described in 9 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations). In March of 1991 Immuno-Dynamics received an establishment license. At this time it was stated that it would be unlikely for the USDA to grant a product license for an intravenous product produced from colostrum. In November 1993 a product license was achieved for ID-1. It is still the only licensed intravenous product produced from colostrum.
During this time Mark personally oversaw all colostrum procurement spending hours in barns and milk houses discussing the science of colostrum, calf health, proper collection and handling with dairymen. It is important to note that in Wisconsin most dairyman are 5th, 6th, 7th or even 8th generation dairyman that already have an intuitive knowledge of colostrum. Their healthy calves are their future. The information on quality colostrum that Dr. Cockrum had conveyed to Mark for a dozen years was quantified in absolute terms.
In the fall of 2003 Dr. Cockrum, Linda Cockrum and Mark began to discuss the possibility of consolidating the Perry, IA office and Dodgeville, WI plant into one facility. Numerous existing structures in southwest Wisconsin were considered but none filled the needs of location, size, materials movement and aesthetic desires. After viewing an available building site in Fennimore, Wisconsin Dr. Cockrum at age 72 stated, “You know what we need, design it”. Ground was broke on July 20, 2004 and the facility completed in 2005.
The new facility allows multiple products to be run simultaneously, prevents cross contamination, fulfills the needs of the biologics license, allows for expansion and provides a pleasant work environment.
On January 3rd, 2007 after over twenty five years of learning from and working for Dr. and Linda Cockrum, Mark Burton became president of Immuno-Dynamics. He is grateful for their continued interest and support. The company remains true to the belief that the greatest and most consistent benefits require use of the highest quality 1st Milking Bovine Colostrum™ delicately processed with meticulously designed equipment, knowhow and care in the industry.
Immuno-Dynamics’s products are and will continue to be known as the standard by which others are judged.