A new research suggests that high-dose vitamin C can boost the cancer-killing effect of chemotherapy in the lab and mice.
Given by injection, it could potentially be a safe, effective and low-cost treatment for ovarian and other cancers, scientists at the University of Kansas say.
Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, they call for large-scale government clinical trials.
Pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to run trials, as vitamins cannot be patented.
Vitamin C has long been used as an alternative therapy for cancer.
High-dose vitamin C can boost the cancer-killing effect of chemotherapy in the lab and mice
In the 1970s, chemist Linus Pauling reported that vitamin C given intravenously was effective in treating cancer.
However, clinical trials of vitamin C given by mouth failed to replicate the effect, and research was abandoned.
It is now known that the human body quickly excretes vitamin C when it is taken by mouth.
However, scientists say that when given by injection vitamin C is absorbed into the body, and can kill cancer cells without harming normal ones.
The researchers injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, into mice, and into patients with advanced ovarian cancer.
They found ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment, but normal cells were unharmed.
The treatment worked in tandem with standard chemotherapy drugs to slow tumor growth in mouse studies. Meanwhile, a small group of patients reported fewer side-effects when given vitamin C alongside chemotherapy.
Co-researcher Dr. Jeanne Drisko said there was growing interest in the use of vitamin C by oncologists.
One potential hurdle is that pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to fund trials of intravenous vitamin C because there is no ability to patent natural products.
Michael Douglas has claimed that his throat cancer was caused by human papilloma virus (HPV), a s**ually transmitted disease.
Michael Douglas, 68, who fought a six month battle with the disease from August 2010 until January 2011, had initially believed that it was his years of smoking and drinking that had lead to the illness.
The Hollywood star made the frank admission about how he developed the illness during an interview with The Guardian newspaper when he was asked if he had regretted smoking and drinking in the past.
Michael Douglas candidly replied: “No. Because, without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunni***gus.”
The actor, who is married to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, was diagnosed with cancer in August 2010 after a walnut-sized tumor was found on his tongue.
Michael Douglas’ health troubles started just a few months after his eldest son Cameron – from his first marriage to Diandra Luker – was jailed for d**g possession and dealing.
The actor admitted he initially believed his disease had been triggered by the stress over his son’s legal troubles.
Michael Douglas has claimed that his throat cancer was caused by human papilloma virus
Michael Douglas explained: “I did worry if the stress caused by my son’s incarceration didn’t help trigger it. But yeah, it’s a s**ually transmitted disease that causes cancer. And if you have it, cunni**gus is also the best cure for it.”
He was diagnosed with stage four of the disease and underwent an intense course of chemotherapy and radiation.
Eventually, Michael Douglas was given the all-clear, although he still has to undergo check-ups with doctors every six months.
However, the actor is optimistic he has conquered the disease once and for all.
“With this kind of cancer, 95 per cent of the time it doesn’t come back,” he said.
More than 20 years ago, Michael Douglas was hospitalized for an addiction, which many reports at the time claimed was to s**.
However, he has since denied that he was a s** addict, insisting that he was being treated for alcohol abuse.
HPV is a sexually transmitted virus which is more widely known as a cause of cervical and anal cancer.
Last year, Cancer Research UK said the rising rates of HPV16-positive cases of oral cancer could be linked to oral s**.
President Hugo Chavez is receiving chemotherapy in a Caracas hospital after cancer surgery in Cuba, Venezuela’s Vice-President Nicolas Maduro has revealed.
Nicolas Maduro was speaking after a Mass at a military hospital in honor of Hugo Chavez.
On Thursday, he went on TV to say Hugo Chavez was battling for his life.
President Hugo Chavez, 58, re-elected in October last year, returned to Caracas last month, but little has been heard about his condition until now.
Photos of him in smiling in bed, with his daughters beside him, were released shortly before he was flown home.
Late on Friday, a Mass was held at a new chapel at the Caracas Military Hospital, where the authorities say he was taken for treatment last week. One of Hugo Chavez’s daughters, Maria Gabriela, and senior officials attended the Mass.
“The treatments Commander Chavez is receiving are tough, but he is stronger than them,” VP Nicolas Maduro told reporters as he left the chapel.
Nicolas Maduro was speaking after opposition leader Henrique Capriles accused him of lying repeatedly about the president’s “real situation”.
As speculation mounts about the president’s future, a number of students have chained themselves together in a street in the capital, insisting the government “tells the truth”.
The government says Hugo Chavez is breathing with the help of a tracheal tube and meeting senior ministers from his sickbed at the military hospital.
President Hugo Chavez is receiving chemotherapy in a Caracas hospital after cancer surgery in Cuba
Nicolas Maduro told reporters that after a “general improvement” in his condition, the doctors had decided to start “complementary treatments”.
“Do you know what complementary treatments are? They are chemotherapy that is applied to patients after operations.”
The vice-president added that Hugo Chavez was communicating with his aides “in writing and other ways he has come up with”.
“You know that President Chavez is very creative and his hands won’t be tied when it comes to communicating orders, guidelines and concerns.”
Hugo Chavez, who has been in office for 14 years, revealed he had cancer in June 2011 and has already had four operations, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
It is believed he has cancer in his pelvic area but his exact illness has never been disclosed.
Last seen in public late last year, Hugo Chavez was reported to have suffered a severe respiratory infection after treatment in Havana.
Hugo Chavez was re-elected for another six-year term in October 2012, but the Supreme Court ruled that his swearing-in could be delayed because of his illness.
It was reported that more than half of Venezuelans believe Hugo Chavez will recover from his illness, although almost a third do not believe he will return to power.
VP Nicolas Maduro has been named by Hugo Chavez as his successor.
If Hugo Chavez is unable to return to office, an election must be held within 30 days under the constitution.
A discovery about how cells die could lead to ways to protect fertility in women having cancer treatment, researchers suggest.
Australian scientists found two specific proteins caused the death of early egg cells in the ovaries.
Blocking them meant cells survived the effects of radiotherapy, according to the study published in the journal Molecular Cell.
The researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Monash University and Prince Henry’s Institute of Medical Research looked at egg cells called primordial follicle oocytes, which provide each woman’s lifetime supply of eggs.
A discovery about how cells die could lead to ways to protect fertility in women having cancer treatment
They found that, when the DNA of cells is damaged through chemotherapy or radiotherapy, two proteins called Puma and Noxa cause the eggs to die.
This causes many female cancer patients to become infertile.
Low numbers of egg cells can also lead to a woman going through an early menopause.
When these cells were manipulated so they did not have the Puma protein, they did not die after being exposed to radiation therapy.
Prof. Jeff Kerr, from Monash University, who worked on the study said: “This might ordinarily be cause for concern because you want damaged egg cells to die so as not to produce abnormal offspring.”
But he added: “To our great surprise we found that not only did the cells survive being irradiated, they were able to repair the DNA damage they had sustained and could be ovulated and fertilized, producing healthy offspring.
“When the cells were also missing the Noxa protein, there was even better protection against radiation.”
Prof. Clare Scott, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, who also worked on the lab and animal research, added: “It means that in the future, medications that block the function of Puma could be used to stop the death of egg cells in patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
“Our results suggest that this could maintain the fertility of these patients.”
The researchers said that the discovery could also mean it would be possible to slow the loss of egg cells from the ovaries, thereby delaying early menopause.
A new study suggests that chemotherapy can undermine itself by causing a rogue response in healthy cells, which could explain why people become resistant.
The treatment loses effectiveness for a significant number of patients with secondary cancers.
Writing in Nature Medicine, US experts said chemo causes wound-healing cells around tumors to make a protein that helps the cancer resist treatment.
An UK expert said the next step would be to find a way to block this effect.
Around 90% of patients with solid cancers, such as breast, prostate, lung and colon, that spread – metastatic disease – develop resistance to chemotherapy.
A new study suggests that chemotherapy can undermine itself by causing a rogue response in healthy cells, which could explain why people become resistant
Treatment is usually given at intervals, so that the body is not overwhelmed by its toxicity.
But that allows time for tumor cells to recover and develop resistance.
In this study, by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle looked at fibroblast cells, which normally play a critical role in wound healing and the production of collagen, the main component of connective tissue such as tendons.
But chemotherapy causes DNA damage that causes the fibroblasts to produce up to 30 times more of a protein called WNT16B than they should.
The protein fuels cancer cells to grow and invade surrounding tissue – and to resist chemotherapy.
It was already known that the protein was involved in the development of cancers – but not in treatment resistance.
The researchers hope their findings will help find a way to stop this response, and improve the effectiveness of therapy.
Peter Nelson, who led the research, said: “Cancer therapies are increasingly evolving to be very specific, targeting key molecular engines that drive the cancer rather than more generic vulnerabilities, such as damaging DNA.
“Our findings indicate that the tumor microenvironment also can influence the success or failure of these more precise therapies.”