MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

You probably guessed: this is the headline of a new WDDTY articleWDDTY tell us that they provide “information on complimentary therapies and alternative medicines” (I don’t want to sound snobbish, but I have my doubts about people who don’t even know how to spell their subject area). As the actual article in question (on vitamin C for cancer, a subject we have discussed on this blog before here and here) is quite short, I might as well show you its full beauty:

START OF QUOTE

High-dose vitamin C does kill cancer—but only when it’s given intravenously. It’s now just a few steps away from being approved as a safe and effective cancer treatment alongside chemotherapy and radiation.

Although researchers have tested the vitamin as a cancer therapy many times, they almost always concluded that it was ineffective—but they were guaranteeing failure by giving it orally to patients.

When it’s given intravenously, it bypasses the gut and goes directly into the bloodstream—where concentrations of the vitamin are up to 500 times higher than when it’s taken orally—and targets cancer cells, say researchers at the University of Iowa.

The therapy is now going through the approval process, and could soon be available as an alternative to chemotherapy or radiation, the two conventional cancer treatments.

It’s been proved to be effective in animal studies, and phase 1 trials have demonstrated that it’s safe and well-tolerated.

Now doctors at the university are starting to use it on patients with pancreatic cancer and lung cancer, and are measuring their progress against other patients who will continue to be given chemotherapy or radiation.

Biologist Garry Buettner, who works at the university, has worked out just why vitamin C is so effective: the vitamin breaks down quickly in the body, and generates hydrogen peroxide that kills cancer cells. “Cancer cells are much less efficient in removing hydrogen peroxide than normal cells, so cancer cells are much more prone to damage and death from a high amount of hydrogen peroxide”, he explained. “This explains how very, very high levels of vitamin C do not affect normal tissue, but can be damaging to tumour tissue.”

END OF QUOTE

According to the author, these amazing claims are based on one single source: a Medline-listed article with the following abstract:

Ascorbate (AscH) functions as a versatile reducing agent. At pharmacological doses (P-AscH; [plasma AscH] ≥≈20mM), achievable through intravenous delivery, oxidation of P-AscH can produce a high flux of H2O2 in tumors. Catalase is the major enzyme for detoxifying high concentrations of H2O2. We hypothesize that sensitivity of tumor cells to P-AscH compared to normal cells is due to their lower capacity to metabolize H2O2. Rate constants for removal of H2O2 (kcell) and catalase activities were determined for 15 tumor and 10 normal cell lines of various tissue types. A differential in the capacity of cells to remove H2O2 was revealed, with the average kcell for normal cells being twice that of tumor cells. The ED50 (50% clonogenic survival) of P-AscH correlated directly with kcell and catalase activity. Catalase activity could present a promising indicator of which tumors may respond to P-AscH.

The author of the WDDTY article is Bryan Hubbard. I did not know this man but soon learnt that he is actually the co-founder of WDDTY. He may not know how to spell ‘complementary medicine’ but he certainly has a lot of fantasy! His latest drivel on vitamin C for cancer seems to prove it. He seems to have the ability to extrapolate from the truth to a point where it becomes unrecognisable. The claims he makes in his article in question certainly are in no way supported by the evidence he provided as his source.

This could be trivial; yet sadly, it isn’t: WDDTY is read by many members of the unsuspecting public. Some of them might have cancer or know someone who has cancer. These desperate patients are likely to believe what is published in WDDTY and might be tempted to act upon it. In other words, the totally misleading articles by Hubbard put lives at risk – and that I cannot find trivial!

What doctors don’t tell you is not what WDDTY suggest; doctors don’t tell you that vitamin C reverses cancer because it is not true. In view of this and other evidence, perhaps the acronym WDDTY is not the best for this publication? Could I perhaps suggest to ‘Hubbard and Co’ another abbreviation? How about MIFUC (MisInformation From Unethical Columnists)?

[yes, I know, I was tempted to chose another noun for the ‘C’, but I resisted!]

18 Responses to Vitamin C does reverse cancer—and now it’s on track for approval as a chemo alternative

  • “Complimentary” Ha!
    But this might not be a mistake.

    “Complimentary Medicine” is a neologism I have devised (May 2016), suggesting it is a more honest term than ‘complementary’, as the latter does not complete any orthodox treatment and is not complementary at all.

    ‘Complimentary medicine’ provides flavour but no effect otherwise. Style but no substance. Nice to have, but no recognisable medical effect (other than pleasure from placebo effects).
    As I explain in ‘Real Secrets of Alternative Medicine’ and in the glossary at http://www.placedo.co.uk.

    Nice to see WDDTY using my new terminology.
    Perhaps they are now trying to be more honest.

  • I don’t even think it’s snobbish to point out such a silly and easily avoidable mistake. Even these people must at least be aware that there are some words that are, for some, difficult to spell, like ‘accommodation’ (does quick check to see if he got it right himself), or words which sound the same but are different( (‘their/there’ happens with distressing frequency nowadays).
    It has the effect of making people think about what else they can’t be bothered to get right. Which kind of dovetails with Richard Rawlins’ comment.

  • the vitamin breaks down quickly in the body, and generates hydrogen peroxide that kills cancer cells

    Gee, would not it be faster to just get a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and go for direct injections into the tumour?

    I am not a doctor!

  • @Ernst

    “How about MIFUC ( Misinformation From Unethical Columnists)?”

    You are late. This label is already provided to you. But you may have to come up with many more. Wait for the out come!

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/trump-meets-with-rfk-jr-to-discuss-vaccine-safety/

  • And if intravenous vitamin C was approved it would become chemotherapy so would have to be hated by the woo crowd 😉 Well it would if they had any sort of logic to their approach.

  • Woo Distributors Disseminating Tosh to You?

  • “It’s now just a few steps away from being approved as a safe and effective cancer treatment alongside chemotherapy and radiation” and “The therapy is now going through the approval process, and could soon be available as an alternative to chemotherapy or radiation, the two conventional cancer treatments.” While I’m all for clinical trials to show whether high-dose i.v. ascorbic acid as a means of delivering free radicals to tumor cells is effective in the treatment of cancer or not, it would take years of human studies before either statement could possibly be true.

  • “Complimentary medicine” should do wonders for the budgets of health insurers!

  • Sadly I saw essentially the same story in my facebook feed today, but from a different media outlet – the University of Iowa’s media group, from 2014. http://medcom.uiowa.edu/medicine/vitamin-c-revival/ I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that my friend has has removed the post. I don’t know how he saw it.

  • There are about two hundreds of disease under the name of cancer, if vitamin C can cure the cancer whay there are any reason to use chemotherapy and radiation, even in Cuba, a poor country, there are no reason for genetic scientific research everywhere about cancer. I think we must have cautious with papers we are reading and ask the doctor.

  • There’s a discussion of a similar claim about Vitamin C here: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-return-of-the-revenge-of-high-dose-vitamin-c-for-cancer/
    As usual Vitamin C did not work as an IV therapeutic agent in that case, but in the unblinded trial it was reported that adding IV vitamin C produced somewhat less side effects.

    The trial the current reports are based on is Phase 1 measuring safety, not Phase 3 measuring therapeutic benefit. As often happens they are counting their chickens before they are hatched.

  • My husband’s cousin works in a clinic in New Zealand where intravenous Vitamin C is used to treat cancer patients, with some remarkable results.
    This woman is a trained nurse, and by no means a hippy type or into Woo stuff.
    I am a subscriber to WDDTY, but that just means I am open-minded; anyone interested in their own health should be, too.
    The Pharma industry is making trillions of dollars promoting unsafe, poorly tested and/or ineffective drugs every year.
    I refer you to the
    excellent book ‘Bad Pharma’ by DOCTOR Ben Goldacre, which exposes the dirty tricks these companies use to sell their products.
    I certainly don’t swallow ‘headline articles’ whole – in any publication – but in a world where all parties are competing for attention, one needs to drill down to unearth facts.
    As for ‘complimentary’….don’t get me started!!

  • My husband’s cousin works in a clinic in New Zealand where intravenous Vitamin C is used to treat cancer patients, with some remarkable results.

    Before we can consider your husband’s cousin’s claim of “remarkable results” we need to see credible evidence for it. Vitamin C has been tested extensively for cancer, not the least by independent researchers on Linus Pauling’s claims and it failed consistently. There are no confirmed cases of cure or remission by such treatment anywhere. There is also no biological mechanism by which it should or could work.
    Today’s confirmed knowledge is that it is absolutely useless.
    For explanations as to why your husband’s cousin is fooled to believe otherwise, read this.

    This woman is a trained nurse, and by no means a hippy type or into Woo stuff.

    Intravenous Vitamin C for cancer is by definition “Woo stuff”. Nurse training does not qualify for determining or evaluating the results of cancer treatment.

    I am a subscriber to WDDTY, but that just means I am open-minded; anyone interested in their own health should be, too.

    WDDTY is the opposite of a reliable source of information. Please do your research.

    The Pharma industry is making trillions of dollars promoting unsafe, poorly tested and/or ineffective drugs every year.

    This sentence is naively fallacious. The shortcomings of the pharmaceutical industry or medicine, does not excuse defrauding cancer patients with disproven therapies.

    I refer you to the
    excellent book ‘Bad Pharma’ by DOCTOR Ben Goldacre, which exposes the dirty tricks these companies use to sell their products.

    Before you get all worked up about “Bad Pharma” Why don’t you read Ben Goldacre’s other book “Bad Science” and his other works with scathing criticism of fake medicine such as iv Vitamin C for cancer?

    I certainly don’t swallow ‘headline articles’ whole – in any publication – but in a world where all parties are competing for attention, one needs to drill down to unearth facts.

    Good for you. But in the current context you should take your own advise and drill in other places than WDDTY and similar junk science promotion sites.

    As for ‘complimentary’….don’t get me started!!

    Please see the first comment in this thread before you loose your composure.

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