Although the medical community has long known of the importance of specific vitamins for health and wellness, there has been continued research in the value of specific vitamins in treating disease states. Internationally, vitamin D has been of great interest in its effects on those with cognitive disorders but more recently, vitamin C has taken a front stage as part of cancer treatments.
As of March, 2017, the clinic trials for use of vitamin C in cancer treatment has passed the human safety trial. The importance of this trial is detailed in an article by sciencedaily.com:
“Clinical trials found that it is safe to regularly infuse brain and lung cancer patients with 800-1,000 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin C as a potential strategy to improve outcomes of standard cancer treatments. The researchers also show pathways by which altered iron metabolism in cancer cells, and not normal cells, lead to increased sensitivity to cancer cell killing caused by high dose vitamin C.”
The trial involved eleven patients that were enrolled for brain cancer safety. Each received three infusions of vitamin C per week for a period of two months that was followed by two infusions each week for a period of seven months. The patients received these treatments while also undergoing their standard chemotherapy and radiation care. The purpose of the infusions was to increase the vitamin C concentration in each patient’s blood from 70uM to 20,000 uM. It’s important to note that vitamin C has a half-life of approximately two hours in the human circulatory system. The side effects of the infusions were minimal and included dry mouth, frequent bathroom trips and a rare occurrence of blood pressure increase immediately after treatment that quickly subsided.
The paper written on the clinical trial revealed that cancer cells have a metabolic frailty that is based on their own oxidizing agent production. Using redox active compounds, such as vitamin C, sensitizes the cancer cells to chemotherapy and radiation. Although the discovery of this sensitivity to redox active compounds occurred over forty years ago, it wasn’t until the current research that clinical trials were instituted.
Vitamin C was chosen as the safest approach due to the fact that even when taken at high levels it doesn’t have toxic effects on normal cells. The free radicals that are created through the use of high rates of vitamin C have been believed to cause selective cancer cell DNA damage that led to cancer cell death as well as sensitizing them to the chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Phase II of the clinical trials are set to establish whether these vitamin C high doses are effective for quality of life and life expansion for patients that are receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Their goal is to enroll patients with stage 4 lung cancer and will be enrolling those with specific glioblastoma multiform (brain cancer). Based on the results of the first phase, there is guarded optimism that the phase II trials will bring an extension of life possibility.
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