Research with cancer cell lines has re-opened the question of the role of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in treating cancer. By using levels of the vitamin only available through intravenous injection, scientists were able to destroy cancer cells in 5 of 10 cell lines but not normal cells They believe that vitamin C generated hydrogen peroxide, and it was hydrogen peroxide that killed cancer cells
Previous studies have not confirmed theories that vitamin C was an effective treatment for cancer, but those studies used oral doses of the vitamin. Intravenous injection of a 10 gram dose produces 25 times the available ascorbic acid than a similar dose in oral form.
Scientists from the National Institutes of Health reported their findings in the September 12, 2005 online edition of the *Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.* They wrote:
Taken together, these data indicate that ascorbate at concentrations achieved only by i.v. administration may be a pro-drug for formation of H2O2, and that blood can be a delivery system of the pro-drug to tissues. These findings give plausibility to i.v. ascorbic acid in cancer treatment, and have unexpected implications for treatment of infections where H2O2 may be beneficial.
Dr. Mark Levine, who led the study team, cautioned that treatments would have to be proven safe before being given to patients.
[Read the study abstract from the *Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.*](http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0506390102v1)
[Read an article about the study from the BBC.](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4238250.stm)
[Read more about the study, including cautions for patients, on *Medpage Today*](http://www.medpagetoday.com/HematologyOncology/LeukemiaLymphoma/tb/1733)