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Published on 5 August 2008

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Vitamin gives cancer patients hope


Injecting vitamin C rather than administering it orally can kill cancer cells, a study has shown.

Researchers in Maryland found that hydrogen peroxide – which is deadly to tumours – was generated in mice when vitamin C was put straight into the bloodstream.

The therapy halved the growth of aggressive tumours, killing cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue unharmed.

Usually the body keeps a tight rein on vitamin C levels in the blood. But scientists found that the mechanism can be by-passed if the vitamin is injected straight into the bloodstream instead of passing through the digestive system.

When this is done it releases the powerful anticancer potential of the vitamin, according to the researchers.

Experiments found that the hydrogen peroxide forms in the spaces between cancer cells, damaging membranes, upsetting metabolism, and scrambling DNA.

Dr Qi Chen, from the National Institutes of Health in the US, wrote in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “Pharmacologic concentrations of ascorbate decreased tumour volumes 41-53% in diverse cancer types known for both their aggressive growth and limited treatment options.”

A “rapid and sustained increase” in hydrogen peroxide was detected in tumour fluids within 30 minutes of starting the treatment.

The doctor added: “A regimen of daily pharmacologic ascorbate treatment significantly decreased growth rates of ovarian, pancreatic and glioblastoma tumours established in mice.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

National Institutes of Health

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