Small won­ders

NZ Life & Leisure - - Magic In The Air -

Mi­cro­bial medicine, or the study of how bac­te­ria and mi­crobes af­fect the hu­man body, is one of the most cut­ting- edge ar­eas in health­care. Skin con­di­tions such as eczema and acne are of­ten the re­sult of an im­bal­ance of skin bac­te­ria. Iona’s prod­uct Atopis is a pre­bi­otic, which helps the body gen­er­ate its own healthy bac­te­ria on the skin to reg­u­late the pro­duc­tion of oil and re­duce in­flam­ma­tion. Sim­i­larly, Phloe is a pre­bi­otic (as op­posed to a pro­bi­otic, which is a live cul­ture of bac­te­ria) and en­cour­ages the body to pro­duce its own healthy bac­te­ria in the gut. Th­ese prod­ucts evolved from Iona’s ground­break­ing PhD where she was first in the world to prove that pro­grammed cell death (a process called apop­to­sis) oc­curs in plants as well as hu­mans. In hu­mans, apop­to­sis (which means “leaves fall­ing off a tree” in Greek) is how the body elim­i­nates cells that are no longer needed. With a Mars­den Fund grant, Iona proved that, un­like an­i­mals, apop­to­sis in plants is re­versible, i. e. plant cells can re­gen­er­ate af­ter be­ing dam­aged from droughts or dis­ease. Chemo­ther­apy drugs, which are de­rived from plants, use apop­to­sis to kill can­cer cells. Iona’s ear­lier work with Kiwi Crush and Phloe stemmed from re­search into how health sup­ple­ments re­duced or en­hanced the ef­fec­tive­ness of chemo­ther­apy drugs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.