Vitamin C slows cancer growth

August 13. 2008

More than 30 years of experience have shown the anti-cancer effect of vitamin C in both test tubes, animal tests and human trials.

Nevertheless, the Danish Cancer Society (Kræftens Bekæmpelse) does not consider it acceptable to apply yet.

Well-known effect on humans
As early as 1936, a young registrar at the Blegdam Hospital in Copenhagen published in the danish scientific journal “Ugeskrift for Læger” an experiment on two leukemia patients in which the disease improved on treatment with vitamin C (1). The young registrar was later to become the renowned professor of pediatrics, Preben Plum.

Forty years ago, researchers first found that vitamin C selectively kills cancer cells in tumors (2), and already 7 years later, Nobel laureate Linus Pauling and Scottish surgeon Ewan Cameron were able to publish a study in which they found an unprecedented survival time for cancer patients treated with vitamin C (3), and they could reproduce the results a few years later (4).

The Mayo Clinic in the USA quickly put a lid on the debate with a study on cancer patients with very small doses of vitamin C given as tablets, where, as you know, you can not consume very much until you get diarrhea; – the body’s natural “overflow valve”.

In 1982, Japanese researchers were able to reproduce Pauling and Cameron’s unusually long survival for cancer patients on Vitamin C (5).

Since then, numerous both animal and human trials have been published to treat cancer with vitamin C.

The new breakthrough
A few years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States began to look at the old experiments extra carefully and found it relevant to retest them, and in 2006 they published a large-scale laboratory experiment that showed that when exposing cancer cells to vitamin C in the high doses that can be obtained by intravenous administration, it causes increased cell death in the cancer cells, that is without damaging the normal cells (6).

This prompted the NIH to move on, and last week we heard about their latest publication (7), where they had shown significant tumor size shrinkage in mice with implanted cancerous tumors treated with intravenous vitamin C.

The new skepticism
Now one would think that this news was received with enthusiasm and optimism in an organization like the Danish Cancer Society, whose main goal is probably best described in the name of the association; -but no.

We see in today’s newspaper BT that Anja Olsen from the Danish Cancer Society, who actually researches in diet and lifestyle’s significance for cancer, is absolutely not thrilled.

She tells BT: “It is ethically on the edge to treat with vitamin C. New treatments must be approved according to completely fixed rules, which means, among other things, that research must be carried out based on humans. “Until this is done, we do not know if it works, just as we can not rule out side effects,” she says.

Of course, it is easy for a researcher in the Danish Cancer Society to demand more research. That is what the Danish Cancer Society does. And how easy it is to spend more time on research when you have no illness yourself. But here “the film breaks off”.

The Danish Cancer Society (DCS) must wake up
For researchers far from patients and for administrators behind closed doors, of course, it is difficult to imagine; but as any general practitioner knows, the time factor for a cancer patient is of completely different dimensions than for the healthy.

The patient who has terminal supplements because “further treatment is hopeless” does not have a time frame of several years before it turns out whether a treatment works or not. He can not say “let’s wait and see”, because then he will never see.

He is looking for a way to prolong life and gain a little extra time. Shouldn’t he have that opportunity? And is it not better that he chooses a treatment which rests on evidence than anything else?

In addition, we have a treatment that has been free of side effects for 10-15 years of use, and a treatment that has numerous both animal experiments and human experiments as evidence.

Wake up DCS and stop moralizing. It can not be justified.

Denmark has a top position in cancer incidence and a bottom position in cancer treatment.

More clinics
A side-effect-free cancer treatment that selectively hits cancer cells without damaging normal cells at the same time is the ideal cancer treatment.

Once it seeps into the public health service and the Danish Cancer Society how good a palliative and life-prolonging treatment Vitamin C can be, then we must hope that large outpatient clinics will be established so that this treatment in the future can be offered for free to cancer patients in Denmark.

The Vitality Council.

1. Plum P. Thomsen S. (1936) Remission under forløbet af akut aleukæmisk leukæmi iagttaget i to tilfælde under behandling med ascorbinsyre. Ugeskr. Læger (98):1062-67.
2. Benade L. Howard T. Burk D. (1969) Synergistic killing of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells by ascorbate and 3-amino-1, 2, 4, -triazole, Oncology, 23, 33–43.
3. Cameron E. Pauling L. (1976) Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 73, 3685–3689 .
4. Cameron E. Pauling L. (1978) Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Reevaluation of prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 75, 4538–4542 .
5. Murata A. Morishige F. Yamaguchi H. (1982) Prolongation of survival times of terminal cancer patients by administration of large doses of ascorbate, International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, Supplement, 23, 101-113.
6. Chen et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 20.Sep.2005;102:13604-9
7. NIH News (2008) Vitamin C Injections Slow Tumor Growth in Mice, Embargoed for Release, Monday, August 4,