A supplement that makes lime taste like ice-cream?

Patients on chemotherapy treatment often report that their taste is impacted by the treatment.

"Patients have told us that food can be tasteless while on chemotherapy. That's why we're conducting a clinical trial on how lozenges containing a naturally occurring protein called miraculin impacts taste. It can make something sour like lime taste sweet like ice-cream," says Nurse Unit Manager of Day Oncology, Angela Mellerick.

This is a Victorian multi-site randomised controlled trial investigating the effect of miraculin (marketed as Miracle Fruit) in people receiving chemotherapy.

"Through this trial we'd like to see whether miraculin can improve the taste of food, leading to better nutrition and improved quality of life."

Miraculin is a glycoprotein known to bind to sweet taste receptors so that bitter and sour compounds are perceived as sweet.

"The way miraculin works is it sticks to the taste buds," says Angela.

We hope this will help will make eating more appealing to patients while on chemotherapy and improve their recovery.

Preliminary studies have reported self-assessed improvements in taste perception in people receiving chemotherapy but larger confirmatory trials are required.

This research is being led by a multidisciplinary team of nursing, dietetics and medical oncology clinician researchers.

"This is the first time the VCCC have offered this opportunity to a team of nursing and allied health led researches. Austin Health is the lead site and the team from the ONJ centre who are working together include Emma Cohen, NUM 7 South, Kate Kaegi, dietitian, Iga Debska, nurse, Belinda Yeo, medical oncologist and myself as Principal Investigator," says Angela.

"This is a really exciting opportunity, and we're hoping to learn more about how miraculin can help patients," says Angela.

Trial development is currently underway and planned to start patient recruitment towards the end of 2019.