As early as 1956 Richard H. Cockrum was interested in the importance and function of the white blood cell group. 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 straining and dissecting lymph channels. During this time he became aware of work done in the 1890’s by Dr. Lansteiner on immune milk. The paper was termed "The Magnus Opus" or the big paper. This was his introduction to the idea of a biological approach to stimulate the animals’ own defense system.
Upon graduation in 1963, Dr. Cockrum began practice in Minburn, Iowa. The foundation of Dr. Cockrum’s practice was his unwavering belief in the value of preventative medicine for the food animal.
Shortly after starting practice Dr. Cockrum was summoned to the Iowa State Hospital dairy herd to discuss prevention of drug residue. Milk from a cow treated with antibiotics had contaminated the milk supply. A patient that was 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.
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). 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.
About this time there was an article published by a group of veterinarians from Australia describing an "immune response" in calves fed colostrum after an esophageal fistula. Because the calves could not have absorbed the antibody 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 virtually no knowledge of the architecture of colostrum's makeup and properties utilizing what has since become known as innate and cellular immune response. Even now this knowledge is far from complete.
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 if is for specific conditions and even though it is 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 any other partial harvest) produces by far the most dependable and consistent results. The second milking – or transitional colostrum – and subsequent milkings, 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. 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. 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 major factor in his practice becoming one of the largest in the United States.
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 Immunoglobulin G and at one time to thymosin Alpha-1 close records were kept regarding the amount to use, frequency and duration of treatments given. As a veterinarian, Dr. Cockrum knew the differences in metabolic rates of different animals and started comparing these metabolic rates with the amounts administer to 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 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, who had began working for him two years earlier, 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 to arrive at a set of operating conditions keeping the bio-activity of colostrum powder as close to nature as possible.
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 took over 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.
During this time Mark personally oversaw all colostrum procurement spending hours in barns and milk houses educating dairymen on the science of colostrum, proper collection and handling. 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.
Because lactose increases and protein decreases as milkings progress from time of birth this is an excellent basis for determining first milking colostrum collected within 6 hours of birth.
- a calf is born without a functioning immune system
- the important immune components are proteins which decrease with each milking
- and lactose (milk sugar) increases to fulfill the energy needs of the growing calf
It naturally follows that 1st milking colostrum is by nature's design the richest source and has the most consistent levels of bioactive components. When using the inverse relationship of protein to fat as the specification for 1st milking colostrum, and using the best production methods the following batch to batch results are obtained consistently.
Every container of colostrum is identified by the producing herd, individual cow and date of harvest. It is evaluated at least 5 times prior to acceptance:
- By the dairyman at harvest
- At procurement from source herd
- Upon delivery to the production plant
- Upon removal from laboratory temperature storage
- Immediately prior to acceptance to the production batch
During the 1990's, numerous field trial and university work was conducted on the veterinary products. During this time Dr. Sherif Sabry began clinical research in humans and laboratory animals using Immuno-Dynamics’ products. Over 20 of these have been completed.
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 were conducive to location, size, materials movement and aesthetic needs. After showing Dr. Cockrum an available building site and with the instructions "You know what we need, design it." Dr. Cockrum at age 72 instructed Mark to begin planning for a new facility that would allow multiple products to be run simultaneously, prevent cross contamination, fulfill the needs of the biologics license, allow for expansion and provide a pleasant work environment.
Ground was broke on July 20, 2004 and the facility was completed in August 2005.
On January 1st, 2007 after over twenty five years of learning from and working for Dr. and Linda Cockrum, Mark Burton assumed control and ownership 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 are derived from the best materials, production methods and processes.
Immuno-Dynamics's products are and will continue to be known as the standard by which others are judged.