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Vitamin C in high doses may boost cancer chemotherapy

Published on 10/02/2014

High-doses of vitamin C can improve effect of chemotherapy by boosting the cancer-killing effect in mice, a US study suggests.

Grapefruits contain a high dose of Vitamin C

The vitamin would have to be given intravenously but could have the potential to be a safe, cost-effective treatment for ovarian and other cancers, the study’s scientists say.

The study was reported in the Science Translational Medicine and was conducted by scientists in the US at the University of Kansas.

Following the study, the researchers have called for large-scale government clinical trials as pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to run trials as vitamins cannot be patented.

The scientists at the University of Kansas discovered that if vitamin C was administered via injection absorbed into the body with greater effect and can kill cancer cells without harming the normal ones.

Vitamin C taken orally can be quickly excreted by the human body and previous studies involving this method have been abandoned due to their ineffectiveness.

In the lab, researchers injected mice, human ovarian cancer cells and patients with advanced ovarian cancer. They found that the cancer cells responded to the treatment of Vitamin C whilst the normal cells remained unharmed.

Lead researcher Qi Chen feels the development of this study may be hindered by the reluctance of pharmaceutical companies to invest money into a non-patentable product.

Chen said: “Because vitamin C has no patent potential, its development will not be supported by pharmaceutical companies.

"We believe that the time has arrived for research agencies to vigorously support thoughtful and meticulous clinical trials with intravenous vitamin C."

Dr Kat Arney from Cancer Research UK is aware of the long-standing history of Vitamin C and cancer treatment but feels more research is needed before we fully understand the benefits of it.

Dr Arney said: "It's difficult to tell with such a small trial - just 22 patients - whether high-dose vitamin C injections had any effect on survival, but it's interesting that it seemed to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy.

"Any potential treatment for cancer needs to be thoroughly evaluated in large clinical trials to make sure it's safe and effective, so further studies are needed before we know for sure what benefits high dose vitamin C may have for patients."

Health insurance plans can include a comprehensive cancer care scheme that can give you access to private chemotherapy and access to drugs and procedures not always available on the NHS.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2014

Categories:  Health InsuranceHealthMedical
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