Dietary Supplement Strengthens Immuno-Therapy Against Breast Cancer

November 7, 2005

An American study has shown that the pioneering cancer medicine against breast cancer, Herceptin, can be made 30-40 times more effective when used in conjunction with a harmless dietary supplement: gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). The study’s results are preliminary but calls for further investigation.

Every year, almost 3,500 Danish women get breast cancer. Approx. every fifth of them have a particularly aggressive form of cancer, which you may fear in particular, if you find cancer in the lymph nodes of the armpit during surgery. The aggressive cancer is due to a gene in the affected women which is particularly active and forms large amounts of HER2, a protein. When HER2 adheres to the surface of a breast cell, it reacts with growth agents in the blood that can transform the cell into a cancerous cell and stimulate it to growth.

However, since 1998, there have been medicine available that, in the same way as an antibody, have been able to block HER2 and thus weaken the growth stimulation. The name of the drug is Herceptin® (Trastuzumab) and so far only women have been offered this, who in addition to being “HER2 positive”, have had recurrence of breast cancer that has spread.

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By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Piccart-Gebhart et al. Trastuzumab after adjuvant chemotherapy in HER2-positive breast cancer. N Engl J Med 2005;353:1659-72.
2. Romond EH et al. Trastuzumab plus adjuvant chemotherapy for operable HER2-positive breast cancer. N Engl J Med 2005;353: 1673-84.
3. Menendez JA et al. Effect of gamma-linolenic acid on the transcriptional activity of the Her2/neu (erbB-2) oncogene. J Natl Cancer Inst 2005;97:1611-15.

High Dose Intravenous Vitamin C Fights Cancer

September 28, 2005

This was the New York Times’ headline two weeks ago.

The United States National Institute of Health (NIH) has publicized a laboratory study (1) which shows that when cancer cells are exposed to high doses of vitamin C, which can only be achieved though intravenous injection, the cancer cells die without the normal cells being effected.

The NIH pronounced,”These findings give plausibility to i.v. ascorbic acid in cancer treatment.” They rightly add that much separates laboratory studies from human treatment.

Meanwhile this study is an affirmation of similar results of many earlier studies. In 2004 researchers indicated that “the role of vitamin C in cancer treatment should be re-examined” because intravenous doses of vitamin C can give concentrations which have anti-tumour effects (2)

In 1993 a study showed that vitamin C is deadly or cytotoxic to fast growing malignant cells while being non-toxic to non-malignant cells. Supplementary studies showed that ascorbate’s effects on cell growth are due to its direct lethal effect on cancer cells contrary to a cytostatic effect (3).

Earlier it had been proven that vitamin C has a growth inhibiting effect on cancer cells, but only in large concentrations. The addition of the antioxidant catalase to the growth media completely suppressed this growth inhibiting effect.

The authors of this study believed that this indicates that an overproduction of hydrogen peroxide in involved in the mechanisms responsible for vitamin C’s inhibitory effect of tumour cell growth (4).

The authors of the more recent study lean towards this hypothesis from 1989, which is that high dose vitamin C’s toxic effect on cancer cells is due to subsequent high concentrations of peroxide. Normal cells have an intact antioxidant defence in the form of catalase. This is lacking in cancer cells. This is why vitamin C harms cancer cells and not normal cells, which is exactly the finding of the 2005 study.

Vitamin C’s potential in cancer treatment was also shown in two large studies from 1994, where large doses of ascorbic acid had strong cytotoxic (cell poisonous) effects on a wide range of cancer cell types grown in test tubes (5).

The authors of the second 1994 study also argue that ascorbic acids acts as a pro-oxidant in cancer cells, and they recommend the use of ascorbic acid in the treatment of neuroblastoma (6).

So far so good; but remember that researchers from the NIH mention that there is much separating laboratory studies and the treatment of people.

Vitamin C is meanwhile so non-toxic that some have already undertaken large studies on people.

As early as 1936, a young Danish doctor published an article in the Danish medical weekly “Ugeskrift for Læger” outlining a study where vitamin C was used in the treatment of two leukaemia patients where both showed improvement. This young doctor, named Preben Plum later became a renowned professor or paediatrics.

40 years later a study including 1,100 patients suffering from terminal cancer showed that those who were treated with i.v. vitamin C lived considerably longer than those who were not treated (7).

Ten years ago Riordan et. al. showed that ascorbic acid levels in the plasma can reach levels toxic to tumour cells if given intravenously. The authors believe that ascorbic acid’s cytotoxic properties should qualify it to be considered as a chemotherapeutic drug.

These few examples of a large amount of vitamin C studies fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

This has awakened considerable interest in the media and could strengthen the scientific foundation of clinics where i.v. vitamin C treatment for cancer is already used.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Chen et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 20. Sept. 2005;102:13604-9.
2. Annals of Internal Medicine 2004;140: 533-37.
3. P.Y. Leung, et al. Cytotoxic Effect of Ascorbate and its Derivatives on Cultured Malignant and Nonmalignant Cell Lines, Anticancer Research, 13(2), March-April 1993, p. 475-480.
4. V. Noto, et al., Effects of Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C) and 2-methyl-1,4-Naphthoquinone Treatment on Human Tumor Cell Growth in Vitro. I. Synergism of Combined Vitamin C and K3 Action, Cancer, 63(5), March 2, 1989, p. 901-906.
5. M. A. Medina, et al. Ascorbic Acid is Cytotoxic for Pediatric Tumor Cells Cultured in Vitro, Biochem Mol Biol Int, 34(5), November 1994, p. 871-874.
6. S.L. Baader, et al., Uptake and Cytotoxicity of Ascorbic Acid and Dehydroascorbic Acid in Neuroblastoma (SK-N-SH) and Neuroectodermal (SK-N-LO) Cells, Anticancer, 14(1A), January-February 1994 p. 221-227.
7. Cameroun, Proc Natl Acad Sci 1976;73:3685-9.
8. N.H. Riordan, et. al. Intravenous Ascorbate as a Tumor Cytotoxic Chemotherapeutic Agent, Medical Hypotheses, 44(3), March 1995, p. 207-213.

www.nih.gov
www.pnas.org
www.annals.org
www.iiar-anticancer.org/research/research_index.htm
www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp
www.med.unibs.it/biblioteca/pubmed2/biomol6.htm
www.sciencedirect.com
www.cancer.gov
www.nytimes.com
www.iom.dk

Breast Cancer Cannot Tolerate Iron Deficiency

September 21, 2005

Breast cancer is fought just as effectively by utilising the body’s iron deposits as by using chemotherapy. This has been shown in an American animal study.

TV and radio sometimes gives the impression that researchers have lost interest in antioxidants. Meanwhile, research in this field continues.

The following describes a study which has recently been published in the worlds leading journal for research in the field of free radicals. Free radicals are neutralised by antioxidants such as vitamins E and C etc.

The journal is called Free Radicals in Biology and Medicine. It comes out every 14 days with about 125 large pages which contain summary articles as well as 10-12 descriptions of new research. It has an editorial staff with nine members and an international review board with 73 members, all of whom are university-researchers. It is unfortunately written in such technical, biologic-biochemical, language that it is not understandable for normal nutrition experts and doctors. But the size and format of the journal is an expression of the intense international research which is still producing new information for the understanding of the roles of antioxidants and free radicals in disease.

The study in question has special interest for doctors who treat atherosclerosis with EDTA. EDTA is given intravenously and binds the bloods heavy metals as well as iron. Because both iron (excess) and heavy metals strain the organism with free radicals, EDTA works as an antioxidant.

In the study, mice were given a human form of breast cancer. The mice did not receive EDTA, but a related substance called desferal (desferoxamine) which is an old medication which removes iron from the blood. The question was whether the mice would be better off after, thanks to the desferal, they were drained of their iron deposits. They were!

Desferal halved the cancer growth and was just as effective as the much more poisonous chemotherapy (in this case, doxorubicin, which is commonly used against breast cancer). When the mice received both desferal and the chemotherapy, the cancer inhibiting effect was slightly larger than with each of the two treatments alone.

Antioxidants support chemotherapy
The method of action is unknown. It is known that an excess of iron can create free radicals and that desferal, like EDTA, can be regarded as an antioxidant. But some conditions of the study showed that that was not the determining factor. The explanation is more rather that the fast growing cancer cells need more iron than normal cells. Desferal starves them of iron which stops their growth.

Contrary to the expected, the study said nothing about the combination of chemotherapy and antioxidants. Cancer doctors in Denmark advise against this combination. They believe that chemotherapy works by creating free radicals and that the treatment therefore is ruined by antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, selenium, Q10, etc.

This is rejected by the article as an antiquated way of thinking. Typical chemotherapy (doxorubicin, cisplatin, etc.) does not work by creating free radicals, but by blocking vital enzymes with difficult names such as topoisomerase etc. This has been proven by a number of researchers (see ref.)

It is actually more probable that antioxidants support chemotherapy. In any case, studies have shown that chemotherapy can be weakened by adding free radicals (hydrogen peroxide). It therefore seems wise to get rid of them with antioxidants, and thereby both streamline chemotherapy and make it less poisonous.

The American researchers who published the study (and who, in addition, work for the American Food and Drug Administration) showed, sensationally, that breast cancer cells can be held in check if they are starved of iron. They also believe, based on their own research as well as the research of others, that cancer doctors should sooner ban free radicals than antioxidants.

This is just basic research. In the future there will be clinical trails which may show that this method works on humans.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Hoke E.M et al. Desferal inhibits breast tumor growth and does not interfere with the tumoricidal activity of doxorubicin. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 2005;39:403-11.
2. Senturker S et al. Induction of apoptosis by chemotherapeutic drugs without generation of reactive oxygen species. Arch Biochem Biophys 2002;397:262-72.

Vitamin D Together With NSAID Medicine Fights Prostate Cancer

September 3, 2005

A world-famous Vitamin-D researcher has initiated a study with a very simple treatment of cancer of the prostate. If expectations are met, then it could result in a revolution in the treatment of the most frequent form of cancer in men.

Among men over 60 at least every other have cancer in the prostate, usually without knowing it. It has been discovered many years ago by investigating men who died for some other reason. Cancer in the prostate is typically a disease that you do not die from – but with! Nevertheless, it is the most frequent cause of cancer among men after lung cancer.

By: Vitality Council

Reference:
Moreno J, Krishnan AV, Feldman D. Molecular mechanisms mediating the anti-proliferative effects of Vitamin D in prostate cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004 Nov;92(4):317-25

Green Diet And Antioxidants Act Against Prostate Cancer

August 16, 2005

A radically changed lifestyle together with antioxidant supplementation seems to stop the growth of early prostate cancer, while the blood becomes eight times more capable of fighting cancer cells.

Some studies with humans and numerous animal trials and population surveys have indicated that antioxidants counteract cancer. Nevertheless, only a few researchers have examined whether they help against cancer in humans when the disease is a reality. An American trial now shows that this may be the case, at least by cancer in the prostate.

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By: Vitality Council

References:
Ornish D et al. Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer. The Journal of Urology 2005;174:1065-70.
Ornish D et al. Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease. JAMA 1998;280:2001-7.

Vitamin B6 Acts Against Colon Cancer

June 14, 2005

Alcohol increases the risk of several types of cancer. This may be because alcohol disturbs certain essential metabolic processes. But vitamin B6 and folic acid appear to repair the damage caused by alcohol, thereby restoring those processes.

If you allow yourself 1-2 glasses of red wine a day, you probably prolong life and help yourself against arteriosclerosis. It is a known matter. At the same time, however, it increases the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. It is also a known matter. Less well-known is that this disadvantage apparently can be eliminated with the B vitamins folic acid and vitamin B6. When alcohol is a cancer risk, it may be because alcohol interferes with the processes that the two vitamins are involved in.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Larsson SC, Giovannucci E, Wolk A. Vitamin B6 intake, alcohol consumption, and colorectal cancer: a longitudinal population-based cohort of women. Gastroenterology. 2005 Jun;128(7):1830-7.
2. Eunyoung Cho et al. Alcohol intake and colorectal cancer: A pooled analysis of 8 cohort studies. Annals of Internal Medicine 2004;140:603-13.

www.gastrojournal.org/scripts/om.dll/serve
www.annals.org
www.iom.dk

Perhaps selenium can prevent hereditary breast cancer

May 30, 2005

Women with a genetic tendency towards breast cancer have unstable chromosomes. Studies now show that these chromosomes can be stabilized by taking selenium supplements.
About every twenty cases of breast cancer are due to inheritance. Most often, the cause is an innate mutation in the so-called BRCA1 gene, which, under normal circumstances, repairs damage to chromosomes.

If you carry this mutation, you already have a high risk of breast cancer: Approximately 60% will get the disease before they reach 50, and approximately 85% will get it before they reach 70. At the same time, the risk of ovarian cancer is no less than 60%.

By: Vitality Council

Reference:
Kowalska E. et al. Increased rates of chromosome breakage in BRCA1 carriers are normalised by oral selenium supplementation. Cancer Epidem Biomarkers Prev 2005;14(5):1302-6.

www.iom.dk

Vitamin D Helps Against Lung Cancer

May 2, 2005

Vitamin D looks more and more like a sharp weapon against cancer. An American study points towards high Vitamin D status being a great advantage, if you have lung cancer.

The belief that vitamin D counteracts cancer is strongly growing. It is based, among other things, on the known normalizing effect of the vitamin on cells and tissues, but also that the frequency of, for example, breast, prostate and colon cancer is considerably higher in countries low in sun such as Denmark, where the sun low in the sky from September to May, so low that No vitamin D is formed in the skin. In addition, the Danish diet completely lacks vitamin D, except fatty fish.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. American Association for Cancer Research. Press Release 18 April 2005.
2. Trump DL et al. Anti-tumor activity of calcitriol: pre-clinical and clinical studies. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004 May;89-90(1-5):519-26.
3. Nakagawa K et al. 22-oxa-1{alpha},25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 inhibits metastasis and angiogenesis in lung cancer. Carcinogenesis. 2005 Feb 17;[Epub ahead of print].

www.aacr.org
www.sciencedirect.com
carcin.oupjournals.org
www.iom.dk

Perhaps Prostate Cancer may be a Rarity in the Future

April 1, 2005

Every forth man lives with a highly increased risk of getting cancer of the prostate, the next most frequent cause to cancer deaths in men. It does not have to be like that. Exactly these exposed men could easily decrease their risk to a tenth.

Researchers from Harvard University in Boston have published a landmark study. It strongly suggests that most cases of cancer in the prostate are due to lack of balance in the body’s defense against free oxygen radicals. And most importantly: This balance can be restored with antioxidants – especially with selenium, but also vitamin E and the red dye of the tomatoes, lycopene. Prostate cancer can thus become a rare disease.

By: Vitality Council

References:
1. Haojie Li et al. : Manganese superoxide dismutase polymorphism, prediagnostic antioxidant status, and risk of clinical significant prostate cancer. Cancer Res. 2005;65:2498-2504.
2. Woodson et al. Manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) polymorphism, α-tocopherol supplementation and prostate cancer risk in the α-Tocopherol, β-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. Cancer Causes Control 2003;14:513-8
3. Niels Hertz. Selen – et livsvigtigt spormineral. Forlaget Ny Videnskab 2002.

www.aacr.org/cncrrea.htm
www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/caco;jsessionid=2sf53q49osdn1.victoria
www.iom.dk

Magnesium May (Perhaps) Prevent Cancer

February 21, 2005

The less magnesium you get, the larger is the risk of colon cancer – plus asthma and imbalances in the muscle- and nerve function. Diuretic pills and empty calories is the major cause of magnesium deficiency.

Swedish researchers have discovered that a lack of magnesium seems to increase the risk of colon cancer which is one of the most common forms of cancer. The increased incidence was discovered in a group of 66,000 women of 40 – 70 years of age who were followed during a 3 year period.

The majority of the 66,000 women got less than the recommended 350 mg. of magnesium a day through their diet. Actually, if a woman got more than 255 mg. of magnesium a day, she would belong to the top 20% in regard to magnesium intake. This top 20% had a significantly reduced risk of colon cancer compared to the rest of the women, and the risk was inversely proportional to the intake of magnesium.

Why do so few people get enough magnesium? It should not be difficult to get enough, but it is estmated that at the beginning of the last century, an average adult person got more than 1000 mg. of magnesium a day. That is four times as much as the women who today get the most.

The explanation is obvious. At the beginning of the last century, the consumption of empty or half-empty calories in the form of sugar, margarine, and white flour was much smaller than it is today. In 100 g. of oatmeal, there is almost 300 mg. of magnesium while other whole grain products (and semisweet chocolate!) contain approx. 100 mg. of magnesium per 100 g. That is four times as much as in industrially manufactured white flour.

Lean meat which was rarely used 100 years ago does not contain more than about 25 mg. of magnesium per 100 g; which is about the same as in vegetables such as spinach, peas, and beans.

The comparison is interesting for other reasons than its relation to cancer. In numberous studies, a lack of magnesium has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart failure; diseases that were not all that common 100 years ago.

A number of years ago, for example, a Scottish study showed that when asthmatics were given a supplement of just 100 mg. magnesium, they suffered fewer asthmatic attacks and their mucous membranes were less irritable. It is a well-known fact that asthma is also a far more common disease today. The effect corresponds to the fact that you can stop an asthma attack by intravenously injecting magnesium sulphate.

Magnesium has many other effects as well: It inhitibs the tendency of the blood platelets to aggregate and increases the production of nitric oxide (NO) which keeps the blood vessels open, it lowers the blood pressure, and it maintains a normal circulation.

All these things can be assumed to reduce the risk of coronary thrombosis; a connection that is presumed but has yet to be finally confirmed. However, it is further supported by the fact that magnesium has several effects in common with the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins – without having the side effects, that is.

The relaxing effect on the blood vessels might be connected to the generally relaxing effect on muscles and nerves for which magnesium is well-known. In earlier days, complete anaesthesia was induced by magnesium just as local anaesthesia can be achieved by injecting magnesium under the skin.

Magnesium is still the most important remedy against cramps in pre-eclampsia and can also be used against tetanus. Many people also benefit from a magnesium supplement that can relieve cramps in the legs which can be a nuisance to both pregnant women and elderly people.

It can seem alarming that we get so much less than we used to of a mineral with these properties. Not least because the widespread use of diuretics contribute to the lack of magnesium by excreting magnesium via the kidneys.

In addition to this, we can now add the possible anti-carcinogenic effects of magnesium. Of course, it might also be the result of a combination of other deficiencies which occurs at the same time as the magnesium deficiency. A poor diet will result in a lack of a number of essential nutrients, so the moral must be: Eat properly!

By: vitality Council

References:
“Magnesium Intake in Relation to Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Women”, Susanna C. Larsson, MSc; Leif Bergkvist, MD, PhD; Alicja Wolk, DMSc, JAMA. 2005;293:86-89.
“Comparison of Mechanism and Functional Effects of Magnesium and Statin Pharmaceuticals”, Rosanoff A, Seelig MS, J Am Coll Nutr, 2004;23(5):501S-505S. (Address:Mildred S. Seelig, MD, E-mail: mgseelig(at)comcast.net ).
Ford Es, Mokdad AH. Dietary magnesium intake in a national sample of US adults. J Nutr 2003;133:2879-82
Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological basis of therapeutics. Pergamon Press 1990. P. 704-6.

www.jacn.org
www.nutrition.org
www.iom.dk