Miracle fruit medicine

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.

[Thanks, Julian!]


3 thoughts on “Miracle fruit medicine”

  1. Your analysis of this new application for the ‘miracle fruit’ is right on the mark. The FDA is playing the heavy in this theater as usual, but I agree with you that perhaps they will feel enough political heat to show more transparency. It comes down to the credibility of the health claims being made about this fruit in the eyes of the FDA folks. This fruit may have been used with good success for years in West Africa, but until the FDA sees current evidence gathered under their FDA criteria they will not approve it.
    From my point of view this is one more case that cries out for bedrock reform of the FDA.

  2. Wow! I didnt know all this about the Miracle Fruit.
    This is what we need, now and I think in the forseeable future, theres so much going sour we should start importing this by the barrel.

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