Vitamin C and Chemotherapy

Thevitamin-c-injectionre’s plenty of research indicating that chemotherapy can deplete vitamin levels in cancer patients. However, this research published in Science Translational Medicine and reported in the BBC News Health demonstrates that vitamin C (provided intravenously) to mice can actually help fight the cancer without harming normal cells

The researchers injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, into mice, and into patients with advanced ovarian cancer (is animal testing like this really necessary? – the subject of a later blog).

They found ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment, but normal cells were unharmed. The treatment worked alonside the standard chemotherapy drugs to slow tumour growth in mouse studies. Meanwhile, a small group of patients reported fewer side-effects when given vitamin C alongside chemotherapy.

The BBC point out that although large scale clinical trials are necessary for this research to be valid for human treatments this is unlikely to happen. The lead researcher Qi Chen said “Because vitamin C has no patent potential, its development will not be supported by pharmaceutical companies,” Of course, this is true for most alternative medicines. The pharmacists who decide what can be stated about the health benefits of particular alternative medicines need to rethink the need for enforced RCT double-blind trials before a health claim can be made. Instead people should be allowed to view the available research, understand its limitations and make their own minds up!