Sime Darby Plantation Bhd’s (SDP) downstream entity Sime Darby Oils (SDO) is working with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to conduct a two years clinical trial on the therapeutic approach of tocotrienols for the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
SDO managing director Haris Arshad said the partnership solidified its goal to be evidence-based in the claims over palm oil products, especially in the nutrition business.
“This represents the very first collaboration between SDO and UKM in the medical field involving a non-communable disease called the NAFLD.
“NAFLD is the term for a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver, which may lead to serious liver damage in the long term, if left untreated.
“This is an extremely important element in our aspiration to venture into the nutraceutical industry in the future,” he said during the signing ceremony, here, today.
Both parties expect to see preliminary results within six months from the commencement of the clinical trial this month and a full publication of the findings in 2021.
UKM Faculty of Medicine dean Prof Dr Raja Affendi Ali said the prevalence of NAFLD in Malaysia could be about 15 to 30 per cent of the general adult population.
The projection was based on the high prevalence of other metabolic diseases in the Malaysian population that are commonly associated with NAFLD, such as high blood sugar, hypertension and obesity.
He said 60 per cent of Malaysian with slightly elevated cholesterol levels had NAFLD, and yet, no medication was available for the disease.
“We are running a randomised double-blind clinical trial with a localised demographic sample focusing on a full-spectrum testing of fatty liver, the first and the most comprehensive of its kind in the world,” he said.
Raja Affendi is the lead investigator of the clinical trial and a consultant physician in gastroenterology and hepatology at the Hospital Canselor Tuanku Mukhriz.
The tocotrienols that will be used in the clinical trial studies are extracted from palm fruit harvested exclusively from the plantations of SDP.
SDO currently produces a tocotrienols supplement called Natriéo, which has been made commercially available since 2002.