New Zealand ice cream could lick chemotherapy side-effects

New Zealand ice cream could lick chemotherapy side-effectsWellington - An ice cream developed in New Zealand is undergoing trials to see if it can combat some of the unpleasant side-effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients, it was reported on Thursday.

Developed by the Fonterra dairy company and Auckland University, the ice cream is undergoing clinical trials to assess its effectiveness against chemotherapy-induced diarrhoea (CID) and anaemia.

It could also reduce weight loss and damage to the immune system during treatment, the developers said in a media release.

Ten patients have signed up at eight oncology centres in the country for a daily regime that includes eating a 100-gram tub of strawberry ice cream called ReCharge and Cancer Trials New Zealand (CTNZ) is seeking another 190 volunteers.

Dr David Perez, of CTNZ, said the ice cream had been welcomed by medical professionals for its tasty and palatable format, as chemotherapy patients often lose their appetites.

He warned that while ReCharge had shown early promise in the laboratory, a high proportion of clinical trials did not subsequently work out.

The product has been developed by LactoPharma, a joint venture between Fonterra and Auckland University.

Project leader Geoff Krissansen said, "Earlier trials in the laboratory found that weight loss and damage to the gut lining were significantly reduced by the active ingredients in ReCharge.

"There were also marked improvements to the immune system and blood markers."

Results of the patient trials, which have been approved by New Zealand's Ministry of Health and Health and Disability Ethics Committee, are expected to be known in about a year, the statement said. (dpa)