They know, too, that what we’ve already discovered — mastic resin, for example — may be able to do more than we’ve asked of it. That’s why scores of Americans with my vision impairment, known as Naion, are injecting a translucent amalgam of selected compounds in the resin — or a placebo of cottonseed oil — into our thighs or bellies twice weekly for six months. I have no idea which group I fall into or whether my stint as a human pincushion is helping me. Three months in, I haven’t experienced any improvement.
The drug is the raison d’être of an Israeli biotech start-up, Regenera Pharma, built on an Iraqi émigré’s research. In animal tests and two small-scale human studies, Regenera established that it was safe and showed enough promise in restoring neural function that the Food and Drug Administration blessed the larger trial that I’m in, which will involve nearly 250 people with Naion at a dozen sites in the United States.Not often you see natural products research gracing the pages of the Times - worth a read to see how this material forms the economy of this tiny Greek island.