Cancer a Nobel Prize winner in collaboration

Cancer treatments such as
chemotherapy or radiation therapy can be detrimental on the patient due to
their high cost, ineffectiveness or side effects. However, multiple studies
have been conducted and researchers are coming to the conclusion that there
might be a way to enhance and make these treatments work better. These studies
are testing the benefits of high dose of intravenous vitamin C when given in
combination with standard treatment and how it affects patients’ overall
health.  

High dose vitamin C has
been a controversial topic in cancer treatment since the 1970s. Physicians have
tried using vitamin C also known as ascorbate or ascorbic acid for years, but
it has had conflicting results in trials. It all began when Linus Pauling a
Nobel Prize winner in collaboration with Ewan Cameron a surgeon at the time,
came to the conclusion that high dose of vitamin C (typically 10g/day by intravenous
infusion for about 10 days and orally afterwards) improved the average survival
of advanced cancer patients and for a small group of patients, survival was
increased to up to 20 times longer than that of controls (2,3). Despite Pauling’s
findings, the Mayo Clinic disagreed with these findings concluding that high
dose of Vitamin C when given orally was not effective when compared to a
placebo in treating cancer (5,6).

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Facing these controversial
findings, due to a growing need for more effective cancer treatments, high dose
intravenous vitamin C is becoming part of more thorough studies. Scientists and
oncologists are conducting more studies to determine if high dose intravenous
vitamin C can become part of cancer treatment regimen.

Vitamin C works as both a
cofactor in the body and an antioxidant. Vitamin C stimulates collagen
formation, increases production of hydrogen peroxide production, inhibits
angiogenesis and enhances and strengthen the immune system. Due to a higher
level of oxidative stress inside the cancer cells’ mitochondria, these cells
can lead to production of redox active iron molecules. When these molecules
react with vitamin C , hydrogen peroxide is formed as well as hydrogen peroxide
–derived free radicals. It is believed that these free radicals cause cancer cell
death by damaging the cells’ DNA. Vitamin C damages cancer cells that are under
a high level of stress, and since normal healthy cells don’t have the same
level of stress, vitamin C does not have the same toxic effect. Overall,
vitamin C has reported to have the lowest toxicity of all vitamins. Most common
side effects are diarrhea, dry mouth, and gas. (1,4).

In conclusion,
intravenous vitamin C has shown to improve the quality of life of cancer
patients, improve response to radiation therapy, lessen the side effects of
chemotherapy as well as reduce inflammation (7). Much more studies are needed,
however if Vitamin C proves to be effective in future clinical trials, the new
cancer treatment might be more cost effective compared to the chemotherapeutic
agents in use

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