I attended the seminar by Dr. Stephen Polyak on his work, "In vitro inhibition of cellular metabolism and inflammation by Silymarin." Silymarin has demonstrated in vitro effects of preventing and treating liver disease, as well as some anti-cancer tendencies. It is made of two diasteriomers of silibinin (A and B) and is derived from extract from milk thistle plant seeds. It has many affects on the body through many different mechanisms. It can block the entry of the Hepatitis C virus, preventing it from infecting cells. It blocks NF-kB activation, which is an anti-inflammatory agent. It can also block T-cell proliferation and pro-inflammatory cytokine production, which can help block an HIV infection. It achieves most of this by inducing rapid depletion of cellular ATP levels, which do not allow the cells to perform normally. This process is rapidly reversible so the cells go back to normal when treatment stops.
Although most of what Dr. Polyak said was way over my head, I was surprised at how interested I found myself in what he had to say. It was very interesting to hear the mechanisms with which the drugs work and the research that occurs behind the knowledge. I was disappointed when I had to leave early to get to work. I wish I could have heard the rest of what he had to say.