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  • What are antioxidants, and are they good for us? (part 1) - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    of chemistry yore oxidation used to be defined as the addition of oxygen to an atom or molecule hence the name Nowadays it s defined more technically as the loss of electrons from an atom or molecule But oxidation reactions are also an essential part of our internal biology We break down food in our gut transport it around our bodies burn it as fuel and use this released energy to move our muscles or make hormones or new cells and all of this involves oxidation Indeed every second of every day our cells are actively directing thousands of different types of oxidation reactions Far from being a bad thing oxidation is a fundamental process of life Radical idea Many oxidation reactions produce free radicals and if antioxidants are the alleged superheroes of good health then free radicals are usually portrayed as the evil baddies to be mopped up at the earliest opportunity To briefly get technical again free radicals are molecules that have an unpaired electron Now rather like people and for reasons to do with quantum mechanics electrons strongly prefer to go around in twos So as a result of this lonely unpaired electron free radicals have a tendency to steal back an electron from neighbouring molecules These nearby molecules in turn become free radicals and go hunting for an electron to restore their own balance in a molecular game of hot potato But because free radical molecules are unstable they can literally break apart if they don t find an electron quickly So if a free radical happens to steal an electron from a key molecule like our DNA the results can be disastrous As a result our cells have evolved sophisticated ways to protect DNA and other important molecules from bumping into free radicals These defences involve molecules that act as antioxidants substances that are able to effortlessly and harmlessly neutralise free radicals Examples from our own internal biology include enzymes like superoxide dismutase and vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin E Antioxidants in our foods So that s the theory free radicals resulting from natural oxidation can damage our cells and cells protect themselves from free radicals by making or absorbing antioxidants So you might think increasing the levels of antioxidants in our bodies must protect us even more Sadly to borrow a catchphrase from Ben Goldacre it s a bit more complicated than that Many experiments have looked at antioxidants effects on our cells both antioxidants found in our bodies and other natural ones like phytochemicals and flavonoids found in plants And it s generally true that such studies have found that antioxidants can indeed protect cells and the molecules inside them from free radical damage But there s a big problem cells in the lab don t always behave like cells in the body and just looking at them on their own reveals very little about how the body behaves as a whole To understand the bigger picture you need to look at

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2009/06/24/what-are-antioxidants-and-are-they-good-for-us-part-1/ (2016-02-11)
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  • What are antioxidants, and are they good for us? (part 2) - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    do not improve your health And the very best trials showed that beta carotene vitamin A and vitamin E supplements could possibly increase the risk of dying from various diseases This is the closest thing we have so far to a definitive answer about antioxidant supplements their cancer prevention effects are at best relatively small And at worst some can actually do harm Case study The story of antioxidants and cancer prevention is in fact an excellent case study about how science works A few decades ago laboratory studies and small studies in humans had led scientists to feel pretty confident that antioxidants would help prevent cancer But when they went to confirm this in larger trials there was pretty much widespread disappointment when these more rigorous studies failed to show the same effect This highlights something we come back to time and time again on this blog it s perilous to draw general conclusions about a substance s cancer preventing ability from small pilot studies the only way to be sure is by carrying out long term well designed trials So it looks like vitamin supplements aren t all they re cracked up to be at helping prevent cancer and certainly don t appear to justify the claims made by some suppliers But what about taking them during cancer treatment itself The evidence on antioxidants and cancer treatment is controversial You might suppose that taking antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment could be a good thing for two reasons Firstly they might lessen the side effects And secondly they might make the treatment more effective And there s some evidence for both of these arguments Conversely it s also possible that antioxidants might actually interfere with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy Some chemotherapy drugs work by producing free radicals and radiotherapy also relies on unleashing their destructive potential inside cancer cells So it s possible that consuming high quantities of antioxidants could reduce or even block these treatments and there s evidence for this too Overall once again the data supporting either of these arguments are inconsistent For every study that shows one thing there s another that shows the opposite or no effect It s hard to be sure whether antioxidants help or harm or under what circumstances And it s likely that people respond differently just like with treatment itself There have also been suggestions that the way antioxidants are physically absorbed determines their effect as Alison wrote about last August And there s an excellent Q A on the subject on our patient information website CancerHelp UK which excitingly is about to be radically revamped Some cancer patients take high doses of antioxidants So given that this is all such a grey area it was worrying to read about research mentioned above and nicely deconstructed by the BMJ on the Guardian s website that found that 60 per cent of 700 New York based cancer survivors said they d taken antioxidant supplements during their treatment for

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2009/06/25/what-are-antioxidants-and-are-they-good-for-us-part-2/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Antioxidants and cancer – the plot thickens - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    to understand To find out more the scientists at Harvard Medical School Massachusetts grew breast cells in a 3D structure similar to that of a human breast Normal breasts are made up of many tiny sacs each with an outer layer of cells encased by a membrane surrounding a hollow centre Cells that detach from the membrane and move into the centre usually self destruct But in breast cancer the hollow centre slowly fills with cancer cells that are somehow able to survive Cell starvation The researchers showed that normal breast cells that have detached from the membrane have changes in their metabolism the way they use energy These detached cells make cutbacks in the amount of glucose they re taking up leading to reduced levels of the cell s fuel ATP This is a sign of cellular starvation which eventually goes on to kill these errant wanderers So how do cancer cells escape starvation and cheat death The changes that turn a normal cell into a cancer cell involve certain genes called oncogenes The researchers wanted to find out how one particular oncogene HER2 which is overactive in many breast cancers affected breast cells that have moved away from their usual place The scientists compared the behaviour of normal breast cells with those expressing too much HER2 They discovered that overactive HER2 allowed the detached cells to maintain their glucose uptake saving them from starvation So what about the antioxidants In an unexpected twist the researchers also showed that cell starvation in wandering cells leads to a situation called oxidative stress Ultimately this means the cells fill with free radicals molecules that can cause damage to DNA and other parts of the cell And this is where things get really interesting the researchers found that if the starving cells were treated with the antioxidants N acetyl cysteine or Trolox it reversed the damage allowing the cells to survive Although this work was done in a highly artificial system it s certainly intriguing and suggests that antioxidants in some circumstances could actually fuel the growth of cancer cells that have moved away from their normal surroundings These results raise questions about how cancer spreads and how antioxidants might be involved in this process Obviously the conclusion that antioxidants might promote cancer is highly speculative but then so is much of the work by which antioxidants supposed benefits are claimed So are antioxidants good or bad These new results paint a confusing picture suggesting that antioxidants may have two conflicting roles when it comes to cancer They may in theory help to decrease the risk of cancer by mopping up free radicals although concrete evidence for this remains elusive as we mentioned before They might also assist in the survival of cancer cells that have moved away from their normal environment As the authors say their results could help us to understand why some trials of antioxidants have suggested that they can sometimes increase the risk of cancer They might also

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2009/10/02/antioxidants-and-cancer-%e2%80%93-the-plot-thickens/ (2016-02-11)
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  • What should you eat while you’re being treated for cancer? - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    1 2011 Henry Scowcroft Can certain diets help with cancer treatment In the years we ve been writing this blog we ve published scores of articles looking at how different types of food and drink do or don t influence a person s chances of developing cancer By now everyone should be familiar with our basic advice and how this topic is frequently misreported in the media But we ve only occasionally touched on what for many of our readers is a much more pressing issue what to eat when you already have cancer This isn t deliberate indeed there s a very good reason for this the scientific evidence is much less solid and it s very difficult to say anything concrete Tonight Channel 4 airs the first of a new series called The Food Hospital which will examine the science behind using food in medicine tackling patients health problems through the food they eat according to the accompanying blurb To mark the series launch we thought it would be good to highlight some of the online information we have about diet and cancer and briefly discuss what the evidence does and doesn t say There are two main reasons people change their diet when they have cancer to help with side effects and to try to influence how their disease progresses or improve how treatments work Helping with side effects On the first point managing side effects there s a fair amount of evidence that your diet can be helpful People who have cancer are generally advised to eat a high calorie diet as weight loss can be a problem and it keeps your energy levels up during treatment The type of cancer you have and the way it is being treated also influences the best approach to take with your diet So someone with a sore mouth would get different advice to someone having bowel problems following radiotherapy to the abdomen Can diet help beat cancer On the second point trying to influence the outcome of your cancer there s more myth and rumour than hard evidence Some extreme examples touted as alternatives to conventional therapy are completely unsupported by scientific evidence and can be dangerous Other diets and foods are pretty much harmless but can cost a lot and again claims they re helpful are not based on much more than anecdote And finally there are some common foods for example grapefruit juice than can interfere with treatments Below we ve listed some of the relevant articles on CancerHelp UK our award winning patient information website But our central message is this beware of claims that any particular food can treat your cancer and always always discuss things with your specialist if you re considering a special diet Our main section on diet Information on specific complementary alternative therapies Can diet on its own stop bowel cancer growing Can changing what I eat help me recover from my cancer What should I eat during chemotherapy Can

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2011/11/01/what-should-you-eat-while-youre-being-treated-for-cancer/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Cannabis, cannabinoids and cancer – the evidence so far - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    Or could they play a role in causing cancer There s controversy around the health risks of cannabis Image source In experiments with mice animals given very high doses of purified THC seemed to have a lower risk of developing cancer and there has been some research suggesting that endocannabinoids cannabinoids produced by the body can suppress tumour growth But there s no solid scientific evidence at the moment to show that cannabinoids or cannabis can cut the risk of cancer in people When it comes to finding out whether cannabis can cause cancer the evidence is a lot murkier This is mainly because most people who use cannabis smoke it mixed with tobacco a substance that definitely does cause cancer This complex issue recently hit the headlines when the British Lung Foundation released a study suggesting that the cancer risks of cannabis had been underestimated although this has been questioned by some experts including Professor David Nutt What about controlling cancer symptoms such as pain or sickness Although there s a lack of data showing that cannabinoids can effectively treat cancer there is good evidence that these molecules may be beneficial in other ways As far back as the 1980s cannabinoid based drugs including dronabinol synthetic THC and nabilone were used to help reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy But there are now safer and more effective alternatives and cannabinoids tend to only be used where other approaches fail In some parts of the world including the Netherlands medical use of marijuana has been legalised for palliative use relieving pain and symptoms including cancer pain For example Dutch patients can obtain standardised medicinal grade cannabis from their doctor and medicinal cannabis is available in many states in the US But one of the problems of using herbal cannabis is about dosage smoking it or taking it in the form of tea often provides a variable dose which may make it difficult for patients to monitor their intake So researchers are turning to alternative dosing methods such as mouth sprays which deliver a reliable and regulated dose Large scale clinical trials are currently running in the UK testing whether a mouth spray called Sativex nabiximols a highly purified pharmaceutical grade extract of cannabis containing THC and CDB can help to control severe cancer pain that doesn t respond to other drugs There may also be potential for the use of cannabinoids in combating the loss of appetite and wasting experienced by some people with cancer although a clinical trial comparing appetite in groups of cancer patients given cannabis extract THC and a placebo didn t find a difference between the treatments Is Cancer Research UK investigating cannabinoids We want to see safe reliable and effective treatments become available for patients as quickly as possible We receive no government funding for our research and it is all paid for by the generosity of the public This is obviously not a bottomless purse and we do not have financial reserves to draw on Because of this limitation we can only fund the very best research proposals that come to us that will bring benefits to people with cancer We ve previously written in detail about how we fund research projects Cancer Research UK has funded research into cannabinoids notably the work of Professor Chris Paraskeva in Bristol investigating the properties of cannabinoids as part of his research into the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer He has published a number of papers detailing lab experiments looking at endocannabinoids as well as THC and written an interesting review looking at the potential of cannabinoids for treating bowel cancer Our funding committees have previously received other applications from researchers who want to investigate cannabinoids that have failed to reach our high standards for funding If we receive future proposals that do meet these stringent requirements then there is no reason why they would not be funded assuming we have the money available to do so We support the only two UK clinical trials of cannabinoids for treating cancer through our national network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres funded by Cancer Research UK and the devolved Departments of Health One is an early stage trial testing a synthetic cannabinoid called dexanabinol for people with advanced cancer the other is an early stage trial testing a drug called Sativex an extract from cannabis plants for people with glioblastoma multiforme brain tumours Added 22 08 12 KA Updated KA 25 03 14 It s natural so it must be better right There s no doubt that the natural world is a treasure trove of biologically useful compounds But whole plants or other organisms are a complex mix of hundreds of chemicals not all of which may be beneficial and contains low or variable levels of active ingredients This makes it difficult to give accurate doses and runs the risk of toxic side effects Foxgloves a source of medically useful chemicals Image source For example foxgloves Digitalis are a useful source of chemicals called cardiac glycosides first purified in 1785 a date widely considered to be the beginning of modern drug based medicine These drugs are now used to treat many thousands of people around the world with heart failure and other cardiac problems But the entire plant itself is highly toxic and eating just a small amount can kill As another example although the antibiotic penicillin was first discovered in a fungus it doesn t mean that someone should munch some mould when suffering an infection In fact the bug beating powers of natural penicillin are confined to a relatively small range of bacteria and chemists have subsequently developed a wider range of life saving antibiotics based on the drug s structure Aspirin is another old drug first discovered in the form of salicylic acid in white willow bark But this naturally occurring chemical causes severe stomach irritation which led to the German company Bayer developing an alternative version acetylsalicylic acid which was kinder to the tummy Aspirin is now arguably one of the most successful drugs of all time and is still being investigated for its potential in preventing or even treating cancer Numerous potent cancer drugs have also been developed in this way purifying a natural compound then improving it and testing it to create a beneficial drug including taxol originally from yew leaves vincristine and vinblastine from rosy periwinkles camptothecin from the Chinese Xi Shu tree colchicine from crocuses and etoposide from the May Apple And we recently wrote about a clinical trial being run by our scientists to test whether curcumin a purified chemical from the curry spice turmeric could help treat people with advanced bowel cancer But it bears repeating that the fact that these purified drugs in controlled high doses can treat cancer doesn t mean that the original plant or a simple extract will have the same effect So although cannabis contains certain cannabinoids it doesn t automatically follow that cannabis itself can treat cancer As we said above there is no good evidence that natural cannabinoids at the doses present in simple cannabis preparations can treat cancer in patients It s also completely unknown whether there may be any other chemicals in street cannabis extracts that could be harmful to patients or even encourage tumour growth Have you seen this video This guy says cannabis cures cancer There is a strong and persistent presence on the internet arguing that cannabis can cure cancer For example there are numerous videos and unverified anecdotes claiming that people have been completely cured of cancer with cannabis hemp cannabis oil or other cannabis derivatives YouTube videos are not scientific evidence Despite what the supporters of these sources may claim videos and stories are not scientific evidence for the effectiveness of any cancer treatment Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence YouTube videos are emphatically not scientific evidence and we are not convinced by them Based on the arguments presented on these kinds of websites it s impossible to tell whether these patients have been cured by cannabis or not We know nothing about their medical diagnosis stage of disease or outlook We don t know what other cancer treatments they had We don t know about the chemical composition of the treatment they got And we only hear about the success stories what about the people who have tried cannabis and not been cured People who make these bold claims for cannabis only pick their best cases without presenting the full picture This highlights the importance of publishing data from scientifically rigorous lab research and clinical trials Firstly because conducting proper clinical studies enables researchers to prove that a prospective cancer treatment is safe and effective And secondly because publishing this data allows doctors around the world to judge for themselves and use it for the benefit of their patients This is the standard to which all cancer treatments are held and it s one that cannabinoids should be held to too Internet anecdotes and videos prove nothing and benefit no one we need reliable scientific research which as discussed above is exactly what is going on It s all a big conspiracy you don t want people to be cured As we ve previously said accusations that we are somehow part of a global conspiracy to suppress cancer cures are as absurd as they are offensive Not only to the thousands of our scientists doctors and nurses who are working as hard as they can to find more effective treatments for the complex set of challenging diseases we call cancer but also the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK and beyond who support this life saving work through generous donations of money energy and time Our aim is to beat cancer through research Our aim is to beat cancer and we believe that the best way to do this through rigorous scientific research aimed at understanding cancer on a biological level and working out how to prevent detect and treat it more effectively This approach has helped to change the face of cancer prevention diagnosis treatment leading to a doubling in survival rates over the past 40 years As a research based organisation we want to see reliable scientific evidence to support claims made about any cancer treatment be it conventional or alternative The claims made for many alternative cancer therapies still require solid evidence to support them and it often turns out that these miracle cures simply don t work when they re put to the test This doesn t mean there s a conspiracy to suppress the True Cure for Cancer it means that doctors and researchers want to see solid evidence that the claims made by people peddling these treatments are true This is vital because lives are at stake Some people may think that a cancer patient has nothing to lose by trying an alternative treatment but there are big risks What s the harm There s nothing to lose If someone chooses to reject conventional cancer treatment in favour of unproven alternatives including cannabis they may miss out on treatment that could save or significantly lengthen their life They may also miss out on effective symptom relief to control their pain and suffering or the chance to spend precious time with their loved ones Furthermore many of these unproven therapies come at a high price and are not covered by the NHS or medical insurance And in the worst cases an alternative therapy may even hasten death Cannabis is also an illegal class B drug in the UK Although centuries of human experimentation tells us that naturally occurring cannabinoids are broadly safe they are not without risks They can increase the heart rate which may cause problems for patients with pre existing or undiagnosed heart conditions They can also interact with other drugs in the body including antidepressants and antihistamines And they may also affect how the body processes certain chemotherapy drugs which could cause serious side effects There is also a reported case where a Dutch lung cancer patient took cannabis extract that had been bought from a street source Within a matter of hours she was in hospital in a coma This highlights the risks of taking street cannabis extracts of unknown concentration and quality in an uncontrolled way and accentuates the need for careful research into how best to use cannabinoids for treating patients Furthermore there are other risks associated with using black market or home made preparations of cannabis particularly cannabis oil For example there may be toxic chemicals left from the solvents used in the preparation process There is also a risk that pesticides found in cannabis crops may be concentrated in these preparations recent research from California suggests high rates of such contaminants in samples from a range of different sources Finally we are also aware of internet scams by people offering to sell cannabis preparations As well as the risk of getting something with completely unknown chemical or medicinal properties and unknown effectiveness there is a strong chance of receiving nothing at all Updated KA 14 08 14 We have also become aware that scammers are tricking cancer patients and their families into handing over money for cannabis oil yet receiving nothing in return Some of these fraudsters are using the email address ukcancerresearchcentre gmail com and claiming to be based at 407 St John Street which is the address of our London offices This is a scam and has nothing to do with Cancer Research UK or our employees If you believe you have been a victim of this fraud please contact the police Updated KA 20 04 15 It is a sad fact that although huge progress has been made over recent years many thousands of people in the UK lose their lives to cancer every year a situation that we urgently want to change through research But when conventional treatment fails there is little chance that turning to an unproven alternative touted on the internet will provide a cure In this situation we recommend that cancer patients talk to their doctor about clinical trials that they may be able to join giving them access to new drugs and providing valuable data that will help other sufferers in future Big Pharma can t patent it so they re not interested Some people argue that the potential of cannabinoids is being ignored by pharmaceutical companies because they can t patent the chemicals occurring in cannabis plants But pharma companies are not stupid and they are quick to jump on promising avenues for effective therapies As we ve shown there are hundreds of researchers around the world investigating cannabinoids in both private and public institutions And there are many ways that these compounds can be patented for example by developing more effective synthetic compounds or better ways to deliver them On the flip side other people argue that patients should be treated with street or homegrown cannabis preparations and that the research being done by companies and other organisations is solely to make money and prevent patients accessing The Cure This is also a false and misleading argument analogous to suggesting that patients in pain should buy heroin or grow opium poppies rather than being prescribed morphine by a doctor The best way to ensure that the benefits of cannabinoids whether natural or synthetic are brought to patients is through proper research using quality controlled safe legal pharmaceutical grade preparations containing known dosages of the drugs To do this requires time effort and money which may come from companies or independent organisations such as charities or governments And ultimately this investment needs to be paid back by sales of a safe effective new drug We are well aware of the issues around drug pricing and availability for example the recent situations with abiraterone and vemurafenib and we are pushing for companies to make new treatments available at a fair price We would also hope that if any cannabinoids are shown to be safe and effective enough to make it to the clinic they would be available at a fair price for all patients that might benefit from them Why don t you campaign for cannabis to be legalised As things currently stand cannabis is classified as a class B drug in the UK meaning that it is illegal to possess or supply it It is not for Cancer Research UK to comment on the legal status of cannabis its use or abuse as a recreational drug or its medical use in any other diseases But we are supportive of properly conducted scientific research that could benefit cancer patients In summary At the moment there simply isn t enough evidence to prove that cannabinoids whether natural or synthetic works to treat cancer in patients although research is ongoing And there s certainly no evidence that street cannabis can treat cancer As a research based organisation we continue to watch the progress of scientists around the world for advances that may benefit people with cancer And although cannabinoid research is an interesting avenue it s certainly not the only one Kat Note We ve already entered into two lengthy time consuming and ultimately circular debates about cannabis cannabinoids and cancer which you can read here and here Because of this we are taking the unusual step of keeping public comments closed on this post as we feel that we have fully laid out our position If you have a considered comment you would like us to publish on this post you can contact the blog team at scienceblog cancer org uk Finally we are grateful to Dr Manuel Guzman Complutense University Madrid Professor Vincenzo di Marzo Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry Naples and GW Pharmaceuticals and Dr Wai Liu St George s Hospital London for helpful discussions as we were writing this post References and further reading CancerHelp UK Does smoking cannabis cause cancer CancerHelp UK Is cannabis a treatment for brain

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/07/25/cannabis-cannabinoids-and-cancer-the-evidence-so-far/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Potential cancer drug DCA tested in early trials - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    this is why we need to test them in clinical trials as Michelakis and his team have begun to do here to discover how they can be safely used to treat patients while minimising any harmful effects Why can t we use it now It is understandable that people with cancer will want to try everything possible to help treat their disease However there is still no evidence yet to support the immediate use of DCA to treat cancer patients The trial in Canada is being conducted under stringent conditions both to ensure the validity of the results and to protect the participants from any unforeseen effects Further clinical trials of DCA using more patients will help determine whether the treatment is more effective than the cancer therapies that are currently available There are reports that people are buying personal supplies of DCA from sources such as the internet Cancer Research UK would strongly advise against this as DCA still has not been shown to actually treat tumours successfully in patients And it may be harmful when given to cancer patients without accurate dosing and medical supervision What will happen in the future It is clear that DCA is an intriguing drug one of many currently being investigated by scientists around the world It will be interesting to see the results of more extensive lab based experiments and larger clinical trials of DCA And cancer cell metabolism is certainly a productive area of research that we re actively funding The fact that DCA is off patent is no barrier to its development as a treatment for cancer For example Cancer Research UK has secured a licence for an off patent drug called fenretinide which could be used to treat rare childhood cancers And there is certainly no conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies to prevent research into DCA there is just not enough evidence at the moment to support its widespread use to treat patients While these results are intriguing it is unlikely that this one compound represents the cure for cancer and it is also unlikely that DCA is the wonder drug that the headlines portray Cancer is a complex and multi faceted disease and it can be caused by a range of different faults within the cell It is unlikely that any single drug could ever treat all forms of the disease There are many promising new treatments for cancer currently in development funded by organisations across the globe including Cancer Research UK If anything these new results show why research is so important in bringing safe and effective treatments to people with cancer they don t provide definitive answers but they support further investigations which may yield benefits for patients in the future Kat Further reading A more detailed analysis of the research can be found at Respectful Insolence DCA and cancer Deja vu all over again Updates 16th May 2011 Several websites are reporting that last week cancer was cured without anyone reporting on it This is not true and seems we think to have arisen from a misreading of the date on the most recent paper on DCA which was published on May 12th 20 10 i e this time last year Everything we wrote in the post and comments below stands DCA is still only a potential cancer treatment and more research is needed to find out whether it s safer or more effective than existing therapies Henry 17th January 2012 ongoing A number of scientific papers investigating DCA have been published over the past year or so by researchers around the world we thought we would highlight some of them here for people who are interested in the current state of DCA research However it s important to remember that most of these studies have only been done using cancer cells grown in the lab and we still don t have solid evidence from clinical trials that DCA is effective at treating cancer in patients Lab research on liver cancer cells grown in the lab shows that a combination of DCA and a drug called sorafenib is more effective than DCA alone 2013 Researchers have tested DCA and other inhibitors of cancer cell metabolism in multiple myeloma cells grown in the lab 2013 A combination of DCA and a drug called sulindac can kill non small cell lung cancer cells and squamous cell cancer cells grown in the lab 2012 DCA can encourage the death of glioma brain tumour stem cells grown in the lab 2012 A combination of DCA and the drug omeprazole can slow the growth of bowel cancer cells and fibrosarcoma cells grown in the lab 2012 A combination of omeprazole tamoxifen and DCA was given to a woman with cholangiocarcinoma that was no longer responding to treatment it slowed the growth of her cancer for three months 2012 Researchers are testing a new way of delivering DCA more directly to cervical cancer so far these experiments have only been done using mice 2012 A combination of arsenic trioxide and DCA is more effective than either drug alone at killing cancer cells grown in the lab or slowing their growth 2011 DCA has an effect on aggressive neuroblastoma cells grown in the lab but not on less aggressive cells 2012 Lab experiments show that DCA can suppress the production of a molecule called HIF1alpha produced by cancer cells to help them grow a blood supply Tests in rats show that DCA can reduce the growth of blood vessels in tumours 2012 Cancer Research UK funded scientists show that combining DCA with a drug called bevacizumab which blocks the growth of blood vessels into tumours can have enhanced anti tumour effects in mice 2013 Scientists in the US ar e testing a more potent form of DCA called Mito DCA that seems to target mitochondria more effectively 2014 In tests on cells grown in the lab and tumours transplanted into animals Cancer Research UK funded scientists show that DCA seems to switch on

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2010/05/12/potential-cancer-drug-dca-tested-in-early-trials/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Alternative/complementary - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    research history Our research strategy FUNDING FOR RESEARCHERS Our funding schemes Biomarker Project Awards Career Development Fellowship Grand Challenge award View all schemes and deadlines Applying for funding Start your application online Guide to filling in your application form How to make a successful application Funding committees Manage your research grant Manage your grant online Guide to managing a grant online Notify us of new publications Update your profile How we deliver research Our research strategy Our institutes Our centres Our research partnerships More Drug discovery and development Recently funded awards Researcher case studies ABOUT US What we do We beat cancer We fundraise We develop policy Our organisation Our strategy Our Trustees CEO and Executive Board Annual report and accounts Annual review Current jobs Graduates and interns Your development Benefits Cancer news Science blog Latest press releases Latest news reports Search all news More Contact Us Press office Publications HOME ABOUT CANCER SUPPORT US NEWS RESOURCES FUNDING RESEARCH ABOUT US You are here Home border 0 Support us Home About us Cancer news Science blog Topic Alternative complementary Topic Alternative complementary Johns Hopkins cancer update emails are a hoax Category Science blog May 8 2015 Kat Arney Hoax emails about cancer risks and treatments are misleading and confusing so don t pass them on Here are the facts behind the claims Read More Alternative therapies what s the harm Category Science blog April 27 2015 Emma Smith We often see stories in the media about cancer patients who have chosen alternative treatments either alongside or instead of conventional treatment Every can Read More An important message for cancer patients Beware the cannabis oil scammers Category Science blog April 20 2015 Kat Arney We have become aware that scammers are tricking cancer patients and their families into handing over money for cannabis oil yet receiving nothing in ret Read More Don t believe the hype 10 persistent cancer myths debunked Category Science blog March 24 2014 Oliver Childs From superfoods to sharks we set the record straight on 10 common myths about cancer Read More Miracle cancer cures Ask for evidence Category Science blog September 13 2013 Kat Arney We ve all seen those headlines reporting a new cure for cancer but do you know fact from fiction and how to ask for evidence Read More Alternative cancer treatment claims in the media are damaging and misleading Category Science blog December 7 2012 Kat Arney We were concerned to see an article in the Daily Express today asking Do cancer alternatives really work This piece contains factual and scientific ina Read More Cannabis cannabinoids and cancer the evidence so far Category Science blog July 25 2012 Kat Arney Note we are updating this blog post regularly as new research is published Last update 01 10 15 IMPORTANT we have become aware that scamme Read More Older Posts Newer Posts Popular posts Most read today Most discussed Don t believe the hype 10 persistent cancer myths debunked How does alcohol cause

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/topic/cancer-treatment/alternativecomplementary/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Don’t believe the hype – 10 persistent cancer myths debunked - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    is saying that eating a healthy diet doesn t matter when it comes to cancer You can read about the scientific evidence on diet and cancer on our website But dietary advice must be based on nutritional and scientific fact When it comes to offering diet tips to reduce cancer risk research shows that the same boring healthy eating advice still holds true Fruit vegetables fibre white meat and fish are good Too much fat salt sugar red or processed meat and alcohol are less so Also this post What should you eat while you re being treated for cancer is packed with links to evidence based advice from our CancerHelp UK website And this post from the Junkfood Science blog explores the science behind sugar and cancer in more detail Edited to add more information and links KA 28 03 14 Myth 5 Cancer is a fungus and sodium bicarbonate is the cure This theory comes from the not very observant observation that cancer is always white One obvious problem with this idea apart from the fact that cancer cells are clearly not fungal in origin is that cancer isn t always white Some tumours are But some aren t Ask any pathologist or cancer surgeon or have a look on Google Image search but maybe not after lunch Proponents of this theory say that cancer is caused by infection by the fungus candida and that tumours are actually the body s attempt at protecting itself from this infection But there s no evidence to show that this is true and plenty of evidence going back at least as far as 1902 that it starts from faults our own cells Furthermore plenty of perfectly healthy people can be infected with candida it s part of the very normal array of microbes that live in and on all of us Usually our immune system keeps candida in check but infections can get more serious in people with compromised immune systems such as those who are HIV positive The simple solution is apparently to inject tumours with baking soda sodium bicarbonate This isn t even the treatment used to treat proven fungal infections let alone cancer On the contrary there s good evidence that high doses of sodium bicarbonate can lead to serious even fatal consequences Some studies suggest that sodium bicarbonate can affect cancers transplanted into mice or cells grown in the lab by neutralising the acidity in the microenvironment immediately around a tumour And researchers in the US are running a small clinical trial investigating whether sodium bicarbonate capsules can help to reduce cancer pain and to find the maximum dose that can be tolerated rather than testing whether it has any effect on tumours As far as we are aware there have been no published clinical trials of sodium bicarbonate as a treatment for cancer It s also worth pointing out that it s not clear whether it s possible to give doses of sodium bicarbonate that can achieve any kind of meaningful effect on cancer in humans although it s something that researchers are investigating Because the body strongly resists attempts to change its pH usually by getting rid of bicarbonate through the kidneys there s a risk that doses large enough to significantly affect the pH around a tumour might cause a serious condition known as alkalosis One estimate suggests that a dose of around 12 grams of baking soda per day based on a 65 kg adult would only be able to counteract the acid produced by a tumour roughly one cubic millimetre in size But doses of more than about 30 grams per day are likely to cause severe health problems you do the maths Myth 6 There s a miracle cancer cure From cannabis to coffee enemas the internet is awash with videos and personal anecdotes about natural miracle cures for cancer But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence YouTube videos and Facebook posts are emphatically not scientific evidence and aren t the same as good quality peer reviewed evidence In many cases it s impossible to tell whether patients featured in such anecdotal sources have been cured by any particular alternative treatment or not We know nothing about their medical diagnosis stage of disease or outlook or even if they actually had cancer in the first place For instance we don t know what other cancer treatments they had And we only hear about the success stories what about the people who have tried it and have not survived The dead can t speak and often people who make bold claims for miracle cures only pick their best cases without presenting the full picture This highlights the importance of publishing data from peer reviewed scientifically rigorous lab research and clinical trials Firstly because conducting proper clinical studies enables researchers to prove that a prospective cancer treatment is safe and effective And secondly because publishing these data allows doctors around the world to judge for themselves and use it for the benefit of their patients This is the standard to which all cancer treatments should be held That s not to say the natural world isn t a source of potential treatments from aspirin willow bark to penicillin mould For example the cancer drug taxol was first extracted from the bark and needles of the Pacific Yew tree But that s a far cry from saying you should chew bark to combat a tumour It s an effective treatment because the active ingredient has been purified and tested in clinical trials So we know that it s safe and effective and what dose to prescribe Of course people with cancer want to beat their disease by any means possible And it s completely understandable to be searching high and low for potential cures But our advice is to be wary of anything labelled a miracle cure especially if people are trying to sell it to you Wikipedia has this excellent list of ineffective cancer

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/03/24/dont-believe-the-hype-10-persistent-cancer-myths-debunked/comment-page-15/ (2016-02-11)
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