Sardines Could Hold Lifeline for Cancer Victims

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), November 21, 1999 | Go to article overview

Sardines Could Hold Lifeline for Cancer Victims


Byline: Jonathan Walker

A NEW cancer treatment developed in Birmingham which uses sardines to prolong life-spans is being tested across the globe.

Trials are being carried out in Ireland, Australia, Canada and France, as well as Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley.

The technique was discovered by Michael Tisdale, professor of cancer biochemistry at Aston University.

He is known as a maverick in the field of cancer research because he looks at ways of treating patients which do not necessarily involve killing or removing the tumour.

It uses a fatty acid known as EPA - found in fish including sardines and herring - to combat a condition called cachexia.

This causes the weight of victims to fall dramatically. More than a quarter of patients suffering from many forms of cancer die from respiratory failure as the muscles which allow them to breathe waste away.

Prof Tisdale discovered EPA could block and even reverse this process. Initial tests on terminally ill cancer patients found it doubled their expected life-span and allowed them to live a more normal life up to the end, rather than being bedridden.

The new experiments, sponsored by American pharmaceutical giant Ross Nutrition, involve 200 terminally ill patients with pancreatic cancer. …

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