The University of Louisiana at Monroe’s (ULM) College of Pharmacy has received a U.S. patent for its potentially life-saving anticancer research involving tocotrienols derived from Malaysian Palm Fruit Oil. Associate Professor of Pharmacy Khalid El Sayed and Pfizer-endowed Professor of Pharmacology Paul W. Sylvester, who is also director of graduate studies and research at ULM, received the patent titled, Anti-cancer tocotrienol analogues and associated methods. The patent is the result of collaborative research between ULM College of Pharmacy faculty and First Tech International Limited of Hong Kong.
Dr. Sylvester, who leads the palm oil research group at ULM, explains that tocotrienols, found abundantly in palm fruit oil, have well-established anti-cancer activity. But their anti-cancer activity is limited in the body because of poor absorption within the intestine and the fact that tocotrienols are rapidly metabolized.
“The newly awarded patent,” says Dr. Sylvester, “discloses the invention of novel tocotrienol derivatives with anti-cancer effects, methods of making such compounds, and methods of cancer treatment and prevention involving those compounds that are useful in the fields of cancer treatment, prevention, and research.
“The patent is for new and potent anticancer agents that were developed by creating carbamate ester analogues of natural tocotrienols — a natural, but rare form of vitamin E,” said Dr. Sylvester. “Specifically, these compounds show significant potential for use in the treatment of breast cancer.”
By making subtle changes to the natural molecular structure of the vitamin E compounds, the researchers have developed tocotrienol-carbamate derivatives that are more stable in the body and more easily absorbed. According to Dr. Sylvester, these changes increase the tocotrienols’ potential anti-cancer potency.
Dr. Sylvester adds that the prospective uses of these newly discovered anticancer agents are significant within the field of cancer research, explaining that the compounds and methods in the patent have the potential to save and/or prolong lives through anticancer treatments.