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A potential treatment for Cancer - Vitamin C

Armen Hareyan's picture

Vitamin C may play a major role in finding cancer treatment. Can you believe it? An apple a day keeps the doctor away - but who knew the apple had the secret key to cure cancer?

I might be exaggerating it a little. We are not quite there, yet. One little piece of apple or an orange might not save you but a whole lot of orange or just a concentrated shot of Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, just might. It is still being tested, but here is what this research study found so far. They tested it on mice that were injected with cancer cells and grew tumors. Those that were given a concentrated shot of ascorbic acid grew the tumors at about half the rate than regular tumors.

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When people were given high doses of concentrated forms of ascorbic acid they did have some side effects. So, the study is not complete yet but it does seem like a very good potential treatment for cancer.

The idea that high doses of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, might help cancer patients first surfaced in the late 1970s. It sparked a heated debate within the research community until studies in 1979 and 1985 by scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, seemed to demonstrate no benefit. But Mark Levine, a physician and cell biologist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, decided to reinvestigate once he realized that patients in the Mayo study had ingested the vitamin. The intestine absorbs only a limited amount of ascorbic acid, so those patients did not get a full dose, he says.

"The results show that high doses of injected vitamin C could be another weapon against cancer, the researchers conclude in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Levine speculates that a massive dose of ascorbic acid triggers a chemical reaction that produces high levels of hydrogen peroxide. Normal cells have enzymes and other mechanisms that prevent hydrogen peroxide from damaging them. But some cancer cells seem to lack those controls and die when concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are too high.

"Levine says potential to help treat cancer with minimal side effects makes vitamin C worth pursuing, in spite of the historical controversy surrounding the treatment."



It's interesting that subsequent studies failed to show a benefit, but those studies involved vitamin C given orally. The new study involved injections of vitamin C to enable greater concentrations of it to get into the system. This has similar parallels to the recent University of Florida research reports finding that talc has the ability to stunt cancer growth by cutting the flow of blood to metastatic lung tumors. Their study revealed that talc stimulates healthy cells to produce 10-fold higher levels of endostatin, a hormone released by healthy lung cells. When the hormone endostatin was first discovered in 1997, doctors hoped its tumor-fighting properties would lead to a cure for cancer. But clinical trials had been disappointing, possibly because most clinicians had injected the hormone directly into patients. The hormone breaks down in the body before it has a chance to slow the spread of cancer. Scientists have only recently discovered that talc stunts tumor growth. The mineral has been used for almost 70 years to treat the respiratory problems that accompany metastatic lung cancer. About half of all patients accumulate fluid around the surface of the lungs, a condition known as malignant pleural effusion. That fluid can press down upon the lung, impair the breathing of the patient and cause the patient to feel very short of breath. However, "thinking" scientists at UF have discovered that talc has the ability to stunt cancer growth by cutting the flow of blood to metastatic lung tumors. They revealed that the cells that cover the lining of the lung are stimulated by the presence of talc to produce a factor that inhibits the growth of blood vessels and kills the tumor cells themselves. That "factor" was endostatin. The body produces 10-fold higher levels of endostatin, released by healthy lung cells. Endostatin prevents new blood vessels from forming, slows cell growth and movement, and even induces nearby tumor cells to commit suicide. All of these make it hard for tumors to grow and spread into healthy lung tissue. But pharma-sponsored scientists thought they could develop another drug, patent it, get it a GoodHouseKeeping seal of approval and market it. But some scientist rethought the situation by understanding that by allowing talc in the chest cavity, thus constantly causing the normal cells to produce endostatin, inhibits the growth of tumors. Again, the problem is that few scientific discoveries work the way we think and few physicians/scientists take the time to think through what it is they've discovered. This Vytorin/Zetia situation may be another case. I'm glad there are some physicians/scientists taking the time to think "outside the box." The FDA has never approved a drug for cancer that was not patented or marketed or produced by a major pharmaceutical company. Today, the trend is towards more expensive cancer therapies with some costing up to $100,000 per patient per year. Millions of people have suffered and died and will continue to suffer and die because profitability, not efficacy and safety, is ultimately determining what cancer therapies are available to patients. Gregory D. Pawelski