Vitamin C jab could combat cancer
Daily Mail | September 14 2005
High doses of vitamin C injected into the bloodstream may be effective at combating cancer, new research suggests.
Scientists found that vitamin C in the form of ascorbate killed cancer cells in the laboratory.
But the effective dose was so high it could only be delivered to patients by infusion into the bloodstream.
The findings appear to contradict earlier studies showing no cancer benefit from vitamin C.
However the researchers point out that those trials only investigated orally taken vitamins.
Vitamin C kills cancer cells but leaves normal cells intact
In the latest study a US team led by Dr Mark Levine, from the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, conducted laboratory experiments which simulated clinical infusions of vitamin C.
Cultures of a range of nine cancer and four normal cell types were studied by exposing them to high doses of ascorbate.
In five of the cancer lines, there was a 50 per cent decrease in cell survival, while normal cells were unaffected.
A more detailed look at lymphoma cells - which were especially sensitive to ascorbate - showed they were either destroyed directly or induced to commit "cell suicide".
Further tests revealed that the growth of cells exposed to vitamin C was reduced by at least 99 per cent.
The effective dose was less than four millimoles, a concentration much higher than an oral dose but easily achievable by intravenous infusion.
Why it killed cancer cells but not normal cells was unknown, said the researchers. It was possible the hydrogen peroxide caused damage that was repaired in normal cells but not in sensitive cancer cells.
The presence of hydrogen peroxide suggested possible applications other than fighting cancer