Friday, September 24, 2010

Ice cream treats cancer! Maybe!

I just came across this old article from a March issue of The Scientist.  The writer Katherine Bagley describes an effort by scientists to isolate milk proteins that can help patients recovering from chemotherapy and insert them directly into...strawberry ice cream.  Yes.

She writes:

"One protein in particular, lactoferrin, has been shown to inhibit tumor growth, promote intestinal cell growth, and regulate immune response in the intestine (Biochem Cell Biol, 89:95–102, 2002). The scientists reasoned it could therefore help patients receiving chemotherapy, which can damage normal cells that multiply quickly, such as infection-fighting white blood cells, known as neutrophils, and intestinal cells."

One of the doctors involved explains why ice cream was the most suitable delivery mechanism for lactoferrin:

"Palmano considered incorporating the bioactives into a liquid drink or yogurt, but in the end, ice cream won out. “Creating a frozen product meant we didn’t have to worry about the bioactives’ shelf life,” she says. “Plus, people going through chemotherapy typically lose their appetite. Why not give them a treat like ice cream?""

While it's not yet on the market, it is being tested by patients who are "required" to eat ice cream every day:

"The scientists worked with New Zealand’s top ice cream manufacturers to create six tons of strawberry-flavored ReCharge. They then made a placebo ice cream with the same taste, color, and calorie count. ReCharge started its Phase II clinical trial in October 2009, in which 200 prechemotherapy cancer patients will be required to eat 100 grams of either ReCharge or the placebo ice cream each day.
“It has been a wonderful ride creating this product,” says Geursen. “We don’t know if ReCharge will work—it is always a challenge going from mice to humans—but we are keeping our fingers crossed.”"

I just raised the question in a previous post about anti-aging ice cream, why not deliver vitamins via ice cream?  This is an entirely feasible and worthy undertaking.   Maybe I should petition Solgar and Grom to do a collaboration. 

Read more: Sweet relief - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences


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