Olive Oil Offers Promising Role in Treatment of Bladder Cancer

An olive oil-mycobacteria suspension exhibited the greatest inhibition of tumor cell growth and stimulated the highest level of cytokines that are essential to initiating an anti-tumor immune response in the bladder.

By Negar Jamshidi
Jul. 18, 2016 09:16 UTC

For nearly 35 years the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) strain, derived from Mycobacterium bovis (a slow-grow­ing aer­o­bic bac­terium that can cause tuber­cu­lo­sis), has been the most effec­tive immunother­apy used against non-inva­sive blad­der can­cer.

However, due to high risk of seri­ous infec­tion and lower tol­er­ance from BCG treat­ment in some can­cer patients, efforts have been con­cen­trated on find­ing safer alter­na­tive ther­a­pies.

Just over a year ago a col­lab­o­ra­tive research group at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona directed by Professor Esther Julian, dis­cov­ered the incred­i­ble effec­tive­ness of Mycobacterium bru­mae (M. bru­mae), in trig­ger­ing an immune response to reduce tumor cell growth in the blad­der of mouse mod­els.
See Also:Olive Oil Health Benefits
The research study showed that com­pared to BCG appli­ca­tion, M. bru­mae treat­ment was found to pro­long the sur­vival of mice with tumor, as well as being non-path­o­genic.

However, two major issues limit the effec­tive­ness of M. bru­mae in the treat­ment of non-inva­sive blad­der can­cer.

One was the for­ma­tion of cell clumps due to mycobac­te­ria lipid-rich cell wall, which pre­vented them from inter­act­ing with tar­get cells and hence restrict mycobac­te­ria anti-tumor activ­ity. The other prob­lem was that live mycobac­te­ria was required for the opti­mal anti-tumor effect on blad­der can­cer.

To cir­cum­vent these issues, the same research group has now devel­oped a for­mu­la­tion using olive oil in water emul­sion that pre­vents not only the clump­ing effect but also deliv­ers viable mycobac­te­ria to the tar­get site.

In fact, researchers were able to demon­strate both in vitro and in vivo that the olive oil-mycobac­te­ria sus­pen­sion was supe­rior to other oil deliv­ery emul­sions tested by exhibit­ing the great­est inhi­bi­tion of tumor cell growth as well as stim­u­lat­ing the high­est level of cytokines which are essen­tial to ini­ti­at­ing an anti-tumor immune response in the blad­der.

The research also high­lights the favor­able physic­o­chem­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the olive oil emul­si­fied mycobac­te­ria, such as a lower pH and hydropho­bic­ity (water-repelling prop­er­ties) required for the effi­cient inter­ac­tion with the blad­der wall to pre­vent the growth of the tumor cells.

Another impor­tant advan­tage of the olive oil-mycobac­te­ria emul­sion was found to be the increased attach­ment to the extra­cel­lu­lar matrix pro­tein fibronectin, pre­vi­ously shown to be cru­cial to induce an anti-tumor immune response.

Interestingly, the authors found that the olive oil‑M. bru­mae emul­sion resulted in a 100 per­cent sur­vival of the mice bear­ing tumors not attain­able with BCG treat­ment in vivo.

The researchers next step is now focused on find­ing strate­gies to improve the ratio between ther­a­peu­tic effi­cacy and adverse events for the patients,” before trans­lat­ing the results to a clin­i­cal set­ting.

Therefore, these new find­ings although pre­lim­i­nary, are very encour­ag­ing and pro­vide fur­ther evi­dence on the ben­e­fits of olive oil in can­cer man­age­ment with the poten­tial as a drug deliv­ery car­rier. This, in turn, unlocks a plethora of pos­si­bil­i­ties for the ther­a­peu­tic appli­ca­tion of this extra­or­di­nary heal­ing oil.


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