New research initiative Algae4IBD aims to source solutions to chronic disease in our oceans, lakes and rivers
What if the solution for a chronic disease lies in our ocean, rivers, or lakes? That is precisely what the new research initiative Algae4IBD is set to answer in the next four years. The EU-funded project aims at identifying compounds from algae that are effective against Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and developing them into functional foods and new medication.
Around the world, more than 6.8 million people suffer from IBD
IBD that describes both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease is a disorder in the intestines that causes prolonged inflammation. It damages the digestive tract and is associated with an elevated risk of colorectal cancer. Existing treatment options are expensive, and patients do not respond well to them. So, IBD continues to cause a lot of distress for those who have the disease.
To put the puzzle together, specialists from 21 partners institutions and 11 countries across Europe and Israel join forces: experts in algae growth & production, gastroenterologists, functional food developers, and pharma SMEs came together to form the Algae4IBD project. This multi-specialist and multi-cultural group bring in the expertise needed to develop products that will, hopefully, prevent and treat IBD.
Our goal: To develop functional food and medication against pain, inflammation and IBD
Pain, inflammation, and an imbalanced gut-microbiome are all characteristics of IBD. The power of algae compounds can help improve the well-being of IBD patients.
IBD is a complex disease whose incidence is steadily increasing. Patients require tailored therapies which are often expensive. Yet, not everyone responds to the available treatments, leaving some with only one option: surgical removal of parts of their bowel. Therefore, a great need for new medication exists.
IBD prevalence has been increasing in the last decades, especially in developed countries and it is affecting increasing younger age groups. Algae can be the missing ingredient that this consortium hopes to add to functional foods – like cereals and smoothies – to prevent, treat and diminish symptoms of IBD.
Searching for new compounds in a holistic way
With our unique approach, we anticipate problems and solve them before they arise, so that product development is much faster.
Algae4IBD focus is on providing orally available and cost-effective solutions for IBD patients – kids and adults – using algal compounds. We strive to deliver our solutions to patients quickly. That’s why we cover the entire development process from algae cultivation to product formulation.
Algae4IBD consortium is innovative in its holistic approach, developing all process from nature to plate and to the bedside. This cutting-edge Horizon 2020 project can be an important source of hope for all those dealing with the disease in Europe and around the globe.