Science Market Update

UMich Study Defends Against Viruses With Bananas

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Oct 29, 2015

Though it’s common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are part of a balanced diet, life science researchers continue to find health benefits in these foods beyond what anyone expected. Take the case of Ohio State University, for example, who three years ago found out that apples can lower levels of bad cholesterol. A new study from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor suggests that bananas can fight off viruses we’d otherwise be susceptible to.

Five years ago, a UMich team isolated a protein in bananas called banana lectin, or BanLec for short. BanLec had the surprising effect of defending mouse cells from infection by the virus that lets in AIDS. Unfortunately, it also had the surprising side effect of irritation and inflammation, which discouraged the team form moving to human tests.

However, new research has pinpointed the root of the side effects and, most excitingly, has found that it can be removed from BanLec without diminishing its virus-stopping powers.  

Markovitz.jpg"What we've done is exciting because there is potential for BanLec to develop into a broad spectrum antiviral agent, something that is not clinically available to physicians and patients right now," says Dr. David Markovitz, UMich professor of internal medicine.

Though tests up to now have been focusing on AIDS, BanLec seems equally capable of stopping any viral infection. This makes it a potentially potent clinical tool. “[W]e also hope that BanLec could become useful in situations such as emergency pandemic response, and military settings, where the precise cause of an infection is unknown but a viral cause is suspected," says Markovitz in a recent University of Michigan press release.

As the team gets ready to move to clinical trials, U-M has patented BanLec and plans to bring the technology to market.

The work was supported by three grants from the National Institutes of Health. For more detailed funding statistics regarding the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, read on with our Funding Statistics and Vendor Show Info report:

research funding

Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. pays a visit to the University of Michigan each year for its Ann Arbor BioResearch Product Faire™ held annually. Our next Ann Arbor event will be on July 28th, 2016. Biotechnology Calendar is a full service event company that has produced on-campus, life science research trade shows nationwide for the past 20 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the finest research campuses across the country. If you are a university researcher or a laboratory product vendor, consider attending one of our on-campus trade shows. You can click below to view pricing for the Ann Arbor show or have a look at our 2015 schedule or our new 2016 schedule of events for a wider geographic selection.  

Tags: University of Michigan Ann Arbor, 2015, Ann Arbor, BioResearch Product Faire Event, MI, UMich

Subscribe to Company News