NCI Funds Effort to Develop Oleocanthal as Cancer Prevention Tool

The National Cancer Institute awarded a grant for researchers to develop the nutraceutical phenolic compound as a functional food in the prevention of breast cancer.
By Julie Al-Zoubi
Aug. 27, 2020 09:41 UTC

America’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) has acknowl­edged oleo­can­thal as a poten­tial nutraceu­ti­cal for breast can­cer and awarded $399,999 to the com­pany, Oleolive, for the devel­op­ment of the phe­no­lic com­pound as a func­tional food to pre­vent breast can­cer.

The funds will be used to research the pre­ven­ta­tive and ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits of oleo­can­thal in triple neg­a­tive breast can­cer (TNBC) recur­rence. Around 50,000 women in the United States are diag­nosed with TNBC annu­ally.

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A new, safe and effec­tive recur­rence inhibitor is urgently needed as the cur­rent out­look for TNBC patients is bleak due to high recur­rence rates, poor over­all sur­vival rates and inef­fec­tive avail­able treat­ments.

Oleocanthal experts Khalid El Sayed and Amal Kaddoumi, who are the company’s chief sci­en­tists and researchers at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, co-authored a 2017 study which revealed that oleo­can­thal was effec­tive in pre­vent­ing can­cer and Alzheimer’s dis­ease in mice and had the poten­tial to become an effec­tive dietary sup­ple­ment for reduc­ing the risk of devel­op­ing both con­di­tions.

El Sayed told Olive Oil Times the nutraceu­ti­cal will be made avail­able to patients once the team has estab­lished the desired potency and effi­cacy of the oleo­can­thal for­mu­la­tion for pre­vent­ing TNBC recur­rence. He said that fur­ther fund­ing would be sought to pre­pare the for­mu­la­tion for clin­i­cal tri­als on humans.

“[I would] cer­tainly rec­om­mend con­sump­tion of high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil daily for not only breast can­cer sur­vivors and patients but also for nor­mal healthy peo­ple to main­tain a con­di­tion of well-being based on the sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive health out­comes doc­u­mented by sev­eral clin­i­cal tri­als and epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stud­ies,” he said.

His rec­om­men­da­tion was an aver­age daily con­sump­tion of around 20 to 50 mil­li­liters of olive oil per day, depend­ing on an individual’s health and the qual­ity of olive oil con­sumed. He advised new con­sumers of olive oil to start with smaller amounts (five to 10 mil­li­liters) and grad­u­ally increase the daily dose over time.


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