Project title: Association of biomolecules extracted from Sicilian red oranges to reduce the side effects of anticancer therapy (ARTICC - Arance Rosse nella Terapia Integrata Contro il Cancro).
Starting date: Q1 2020
Ending date: 2023
Inflammation is the basis of the development of various chronic-degenerative diseases including cancer. Indeed, extensive scientific literature supports the critical role played by inflammation in tumor development and progression. In fact, there are numerous cancers originating from sites of chronic infections and / or subjected to chronic inflammatory insult. In particular, leukocytes produce a powerful oxidizing mixture that from one side protects from the immediate death caused by the infection but on the other hand causes oxidative damage to DNA and mutation phenomena, contributing to the process of carcinogenesis. In the early stages of carcinogenesis, the tumor microenvironment stimulates neoplastic growth, facilitates genomic instability and promotes angiogenesis. Inflammatory cells, chemokines and cytokines influence the entire microenvironment regulating the differentiation and migration of neoplastic cells. In the most advanced stages of this interaction the same neoplastic cells produce pro-inflammatory substances and metalloproteases functional to the diffusion and metastasization. However, the processes of inflammation activation are sometimes also linked to the same anticancer therapy. It is known that this is often associated with the development of various side effects. These effects, however short-lived, may be responsible for stopping the treatment and influencing the response. Among the side effects described, the most common are: fatigue, depending on the action of the drugs and on the bone marrow toxicity that causes anemia; digestive disorders due to damage to the intestinal epithelium, including nausea, vomiting and changes in the alvus. In addition to this, drugs used in oncology often hinder the renewal of blood cells (leukocytes) to significantly decrease and promote the development of infections. In light of this, it is useful to integrate the antitumor therapy with bioactive molecules, possibly of natural origin, which can favor the reduction of the afore mentioned side effects. In this context, a food supplement with an antioxidant action is extracted from the pulp and juice of Sicilian red oranges, recently characterized by some researchers of CREA as well as a bioactive extract derived from the waste of the same red oranges (peels) and obtained from some researchers of the PST of Catania, whose immunomodulating activity was tested by the Etna Biotech Company through the VAIMA project. Therefore, the aim of the present project will be to determine whether the association of bioactive molecules extracted from red oranges (peel, pulp and juice) may play a role in reducing the side effects caused by anticancer therapy. The first mission of the project is to place the patient at the center of care in which quality of life, science and bioethical aspects must be the pillars of assistance, especially for a cancer patient. It is in this spirit that the consortium wants to promote the development of this study by providing the know-how of its healthcare staff to start a clinical trial.