Vitamin C shrinks tumours

Research backs theory that vitamin C shrinks tumours

New research has suggested that vitamin C could be effective in curing cancer.

Doctors reported yesterday that three cancer patients who were given large intravenous doses over a period of several months had their tumours shrunk and their lives extended.

A 49-year-old man diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer in 1996 declined chemotherapy and radiotherapy in favour of regular infusions of vitamin C – and was still alive and cancer-free nine years later.

A 66-year-old woman with an aggressive lymphoma who had a ‘dismal prognosis’ in 1995 was similarly treated and is still alive 10 years later. And a 51-year-old woman with kidney cancer that spread to her lungs diagnosed in 1995 had a normal chest X-ray two years later.

The findings, which were confirmed by pathologists, do not prove the vitamin cured the cancer, but they do increase the ‘clinical plausibility’ of the idea, the researchers say.

Vitamin C therapy was first promoted by Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling 30 years ago, but attempts to confirm his findings failed, pushing high-dose vitamin C in to ‘alternative’ therapy boundaries.

The researchers say attempts to replicate Dr Pauling’s work failed because they used oral doses of the drug which is rapidly excreted. However, injections achieve blood levels 25 times higher that persist for longer. At these very high doses, the blood level of vitamin C is high enough to selectively kill cancer cells.

The latest study, published in the Candian Association’s Medical Journal, could trigger renewed interest in Dr Pauling’s claims. In fact, several clinical trials of vitamin C are about to start, including one at McGill University in Montreal, the authors say.

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