Vitamin C whether intravenous or oral is one of the most prevalent types of alternative and complimentary cancer therapies. Yet, this nutrient is still considered “controversial” by mainstream oncology. Since two time Nobel Prize winner (in chemistry and peace) Dr. Linus Pauling advocated its use in cancer starting in the late 1970’s, evidence to its efficacy has been quietly and steadily mounting. Humans Do Not Make Vitamin C. Almost all animals and plants synthesize their own vitamin C except humans and a small number of other animals, including, apes, guinea pigs, the red-vented bulbul, a fruit-eating bat and a species of trout.
Vitamin C and Cancer – Early Work – Pure L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) was first prepared in 1928 by the Nobel prize winning biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and in 1932 it was shown that this substance was vitamin C. In 1954 and 1959 Dr. W. J. McCormick, a Canadian physician, hypothesized that cancer is a collagen disease, secondary to a vitamin C deficiency. His theory was based on the fact that collagen is the “mortar” that binds cells together and if cells stick together, tumors would have a more difficult time breaking away and metastasizing. This concept was expanded upon when, in 1966, Dr. Ewan Cameron wrote a book entitled “Hyaluronidase and Cancer.” In it he pointed out that the ground substance or “intercellular cement” that binds cells of normal tissues contains various molecules that strengthen it including glycosaminoglycans and fibrils of collagen. Dr. Cameron discussed how tumors can produce enzymes that breakdown these molecules (i.e. hyaluronidase and collagenase).
Linus Pauling, Ph.D. (chemistry) had been interested in vitamin C for many years and had written previously how people required large amounts of vitamin C (1). Working with Dr. Cameron, Dr. Pauling pointed out that Vitamin C could: A) stimulate normal cells to produce increased amounts of a hyaluronidase inhibitor and; B) increase the number of collagen fibrils made (2). Based on these theories, Drs. Pauling and Cameron embarked on a number of studies to test the efficacy of vitamin C in cancer patients.
Pauling and Cameron Studies Find Improvement in Survival and Quality of Life – In 1976, Drs. Pauling and Cameron reported the survival times of 100 terminal cancer patients who were given supplemental ascorbate (10 grams/daily intravenously) and those of a control group of 1,000 patients of similar status treated by the same clinicians in the same hospital (Vale of Leven Hospital in Scotland) who had been managed identically except for the ascorbate. The 1,000 controls were matched by sex, age, primary tumor type, and clinical status. By August 10, 1976 all 1,000 of the controls had died while 18 of the 100 ascorbate-treated patients were still living. As of September 15, 1979, five ascorbate treated patients were still alive and “living normal lives.” The 100 acorbate-treated patients lived, on the average, 300 days longer than their matched controls with better quality of life (measured from the time all patients were considered “untreatable”).
A second study was performed in 1978 with 100 new ascorbate-treated patients and 1,000 matched controls (about half of the controls were in the original set) (3). This analysis broke out the improved survival times by cancer type. For each type of cancer there was an improvement in survival.
More of this article at Cancer Monthly