If things go as per plan, hundreds and thousands of people who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) will get relief not by drugs or surgery, but by functional food. IBD is a chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract (GI), characterized by weight loss, haemorrhage, lower abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics and an unhealthy lifestyle disrupt the microbial eco-system of the human GI tract, which eventually leads to IBD.
It may be recalled that Jyoti Basu, the longest serving Chief Minister in the history of the country, had to resign on November 6, 2000 on grounds of poor health. He had been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS) and at his farewell function, which was held at Routanda in Writers’ Building, he told the gathering in his characteristic style, “Get me the right medicine and I will continue for many years.”
For several years, senior government officials and academicians have been talking about a partnership between the science and technology department with industries.
Now, a venture taken up by the Immunobiology and Regenerative Medicine research laboratory of the Department of Zoology of the University of Calcutta and sweetmeat giant KC Dass could be a vital step in this direction. A novel combinatorial probiotic cocktail has been developed by the research team, which can be consumed with dairy products like curd, lassi or ghol of herbal juice or any palatable viscous formulation. Professor Ena Ray Banerjee, head of the research team, said the experiment had proved very successful on mice and clinical tests on humans would soon start.
She said in whey water those microbes get activated that inhibit inflammation and promote regeneration in a mouse model of Colitis. In a 28-day model, the mice got dehydrated, their food intake dropped and morbidity was high.
During post-mortem, their intestines were found to be leaking, leading to multiple organ failure. When they were given food mixed with the novel combinatorial probiotic cocktail for one year, they were reported to be in perfect health. If the human trials prove to be successful, thousands of people suffering from IBD will get a much needed breather.