Prof. Fichna: Medicines are hidden in nature, we discover them. Wprost talks about Polish science and medicine

Prof.  Fichna: Medicines are hidden in nature, we discover them.  Wprost talks about Polish science and medicine

Nature is an unlimited source of molecules that can be used as drugs, and thanks to chemistry we can increase their potential – says Prof. Jakub Fichna, head of the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry of the Medical University of Lodz. His team conducts research, among others: on therapies of natural origin that can be used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, as well as inhibiting the aging process.

Prof. Jakub Fichna is the head of the Department of Biochemistry and the head of the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry at the Medical University of Lodz. In 2016, he was the winner of the prestigious Rising Star Award granted by the European Union of Gastroenterology (UEG). His research focuses primarily on the discovery and potential of natural substances that can be used to improve the health and treatment of people with intestinal diseases and that may contribute to stopping the aging processes of cells.

– First of all, we focus on therapeutic substances of natural origin; many of them were already known and used by humanity, we study their properties and check which of these substances actually work. Nature is an unlimited source of particles. We want to use natural sources, both of plant and animal origin, but we also often try to “improve” the properties of molecules and incorporate them into more complex structures – says Prof. Fichna.

Help for patients with intestinal diseases

Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, are an increasing problem, especially in civilized countries. – We tested many substances of plant origin, including: extracts from coffee beans and evening primrose, which have anti-inflammatory properties due to their high content of flavonoids. We are testing many new preparations, I think we will have many interesting discoveries – notes Prof. Fichna.

One of such natural sources of flavonoids may be, for example, silver coffee husk. – For many years, it was considered a waste generated during the processing of coffee beans; we discovered that it has a strong anti-inflammatory effect. It will probably be possible to create a supplement and perhaps even administer it with food. This may have a supportive effect in people with inflammatory bowel diseases. We already have a patent – emphasizes Prof. Fichna.

His team also conducts research on substances of animal origin that can help patients: for example, preparations derived from colostrum (the first fractions of human milk).

Another area of ​​research is research on diets that may be helpful (or harmful) to people with inflammatory bowel disease.

– One of the first surveys we conducted among patients with inflammatory bowel diseases concerned what products they like to consume and which ones they avoid. It turned out that one of the most frequently avoided products was milk, but interestingly coffee with milk was one of the most frequently consumed drinks. It follows that patients need to observe themselves; In some people, milk may actually cause symptoms to worsen, but on the other hand, you cannot give it up lightly, as it contains anti-inflammatory substances, e.g. lactoferrin – emphasizes Prof. Fichna.

Stop the aging process

Some substances of natural origin can inhibit inflammation accompanying the aging process. – We conduct research to develop nutritional products, the so-called nutraceuticals that could inhibit this process and help achieve the so-called healthy aging. These are products with a high content of antioxidants, we cooperate with several companies to bring these types of products to the market. We will develop substances of plant origin and, in cooperation with chemists, we will try to modify these molecules – notes Prof. Fichna.

What substances can be helpful in stopping the aging process, what molecules can help with intestinal diseases and relieve pain – listen to the entire conversation between editor Krzysztof Michalski and prof. Jakub Fichna.

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