Another miracle fruit story? Yawn. But this one has an interesting tidbit:
About five months ago, a Miami, Florida, hospital began studying whether the fruit’s sweetening effects can restore the appetite of cancer patients whose chemotherapy treatments have left them with dulled taste buds.
“What happens in patients is the food tastes so metallic and bland, it becomes repulsive,” said Dr. Mike Cusnir, a lead researcher on the project and oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “Most of the patients undergoing chemotherapy have weight loss. Then they cut further into their diet and then this furthers the weight loss. It causes malnutrition, decreased function of the body and electrolyte imbalance.” […]
Cusnir filed for an investigational new drug application, which is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to use an unapproved product in a new patient population. His study seeks 40 cancer patients.
“The majority have given good feedback that it did improve taste,” Cusnir said. “A few patients felt there wasn’t much change. The feedback is mixed as it usually is in any situation. It’s been encouraging, but we haven’t analyzed the data so far.”
The FDA has stonewalled journalists seeking information about why the agency shut down efforts to market miraculin, the protein in miracle fruit that causes sour foods to taste sweet. Hopefully being faced with a new application will force them to be more transparent, or at least to give the berry another chance. Meeting safety standards for medicinal use might also pave the way toward getting it approved as a food additive in consumer products.