In an effort to reduce the high numbers of men suffering from prostate cancer on the Caribbean islands of Trinadad and Tobago, researchers are to test the effects of LycoRed's tomato lycopene complex supplements on the progression of lesions at risk of becoming cancerous.
Natural lycopene complex is a carotenoid found in tomatoes. It is among the most potent antioxidants found in the carotenoid group, and the most abundant carotenoid found in human serum. As the human body cannot produce lycopene and phytonutrients, it needs be consumed daily and to date the most bioavailable sources of natural lycopene complex have been found to come from cooked tomato food products or natural tomato complex.
Lyc-O-Mato - a tomato extract providing 15 mg of lycopene manufactured by Israel-based LycoRed Natural Products Industries - is claimed to be the only natural lycopene complex that delivers phytonutrients in the tomato's own oil, complete with natural vitamin E. Previous research has shown a correlation between Lyc-O-Mato and reduced risk and progression of prostate cancer.
The twin-island Caribbean Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has the highest reported incidence of prostate cancer in the world. The population of the islands is largely of African (40 per cent) or East Indian (40 per cent) descent and a number of studies are underway to study genetic and environmental factors which may contribute to the very high prostate cancer risk among this population.
A prostate cancer screening study has been ongoing on the island of Tobago since 1997. About 60 per cent of all Tobago men aged 40-79 are participating in the study, with 3082 men having been screened to date.
Prinicipal investigator Dr Clareann H. Bunker, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, together with Dr Alan Patrick, her co-principal investigator from Tobago, have begun a randomized pilot trial that will test the effectiveness of the Lyc-o-mato tomato lycopene complex in reducing the risk of prostate cancer in Tobago men with biopsy-detected lesions which may have a high risk of progressing to prostate cancer.
Bunker said: "Our underlying promise to the men of Tobago and their families, is to find a way to prevent or slow the progression of prostate cancer".
The pilot study is expected to complete in December 2003 with results available in early Spring 2004.
The Lyc-o-mato supplements are to be provided by Pittsburgh-based nutritional supplement manufacturer Healthy Origins. The company is also currently supplying the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Florida for the first randomized clinical trial studying the effects of tomato lycopene complex and those of soy isoflavones on prostate health.