“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” – (source)(source) Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), Harvard Professor of Medicine and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal
This, however, does not mean that other research, published in reputable peer-reviewed journals, is not being conducted, or is not significant.
A great example comes from a study that shows there is an active anti-cancer component in coconut oil that constitutes 50 percent of its makeup. It’s called lauric acid, and in a study published in the journal Cancer Research, researchers at the University of Adelaide discovered this component completely exterminated more than 90 percent of colon cancer cells after just two days of treatment in a colon cancer cell line (CRC) in vitro. The study also reports/cites studies that postulate and indeed support the position that lauric acid can induce cancer cell death both in vitro and in vivo. For this study, the researchers used the rat small intestinal cell line as a model of normal intestinal epithelial cells, which again, “demonstrated that lauric acid induced considerable cell death.” Although there is still much to learn, there is obviously some potential here.
That being said, as reported by the United Nations University, experiments are being conducted with animals to find out how coconut oil can guard against cancer and have already yielded some interesting results. You can read more about that here.
What’s the difference between in vivo and in vitro studies? For in vitro studies, researchers conduct experiments using cells in a petrie dish, or perform a procedure in a controlled environment outside of a living organism. So, when we are talking about coconut oil and cancer, the study has not been performed in vivo, where researchers will perform experiments on whole, living organism as opposed to a partial or dead organism. Animal studies and clinical trials are two forms of in vivo research.
Unfortunately, clinical trials are highly expensive, making studying the beneficial effects of lauric acid on cancer difficult for researchers who lack proper access to funding. Despite the fact that multiple studies stress the need for more rigorous research, there is simply no money available. Why is this? It’s because medical research is funded by pharmaceutical companies, and pharmaceutical grade products, like drugs, are what they test in human and animal clinical trials. Things found in nature cannot be patented. Drugs can. It is therefore not in the best interests of a pharmaceutical company to fund this type of research, even though it is clearly in the best interests of the rest of the population.