Top doctors and scientists from the USA, Europe and New Zealand will meet in Auckland this Friday and Saturday February 15-16th for a Symposium, ‘Vitamin C for Cancer and Infection – from Bench to Bedside’ to share results from the latest international trials highlighting promising new discoveries around vitamin C and its potential impact as a treatment for cancer, infection and immunity.
Symposium co-conveners, Otago University vitamin C Researchers Professor Margreet Vissers and Associate Professor Anitra Carr, say while the Friday session is targeted at clinicians, academic and health experts, a special open session is being held on Saturday afternoon allowing the general public the chance to hear the latest in cutting-edge research.
“This is a unique opportunity for New Zealand doctors, scientists and the public to hear from such an eminent group of speakers,” says Professor Vissers. “We have long moved on from simply thinking of vitamin C as something we need to avoid scurvy. In the past decade the science of vitamin C has undergone a true renaissance with an improved understanding of the pharmacokinetics – or metabolic process – of how it works in the body, along with its potential to treat infectious diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis as well as cancer.”
Symposium attendees will hear new information regarding vitamin C’s believed impact on four main areas of cancer; slowing cancer growth by controlling tumour hypoxia – a major driver of cancer growth; limiting tumour spread by the use of high dose vitamin C infusions to generate hydrogen peroxide (toxic to cancer cells); controlling the activity of enzymes that regulate cancer cell epigenetics, thereby slowing cell growth and increasing potential treatment susceptibility; and finally, in supporting a cancer patient’s quality of life by restoring healthy vitamin C levels.
Professor Vissers agrees the use of high-dose vitamin C infusions to treat cancer remains controversial due to a lack of solid evidence over its efficacy, with little reliable information available for patients and doctors due to an absence of good clinical studies. But she believes this is now changing.
“We are progressively filling that knowledge and evidence vacuum and its now becoming possible for us to have a more rational and informed discussion about appropriate clinical use. We are progressively pinpointing the types of clinical trials that will provide us with good information. This will help us identify which patients might benefit from vitamin C treatment, how to identify them and what conditions are required for their treatment” she says.
Professor Vissers’ own research trials are funded by the Health Research Commission, the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation and the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation.
Among the guest speakers on vitamin C use in cancer, US Professor Jeanne Drisko will deliver the latest findings from her team’s clinical trials into ovarian and pancreatic cancer.
“Our team at the University of Kansas Health System is excited about the future potential for intravenous vitamin C research in cancer and are now planning to expand our research to include even larger numbers of patients” says Professor Drisko.
Also revealed will be the important and emerging role of vitamin C in helping treat infection. Until recently it was thought that a recommended daily intake of vitamin C was sufficient for healthy living. But evidence is now clear that the body consumes more vitamin C when infected and sick, requiring increased intake to restore depleted levels. New international pharmacokinetic studies show that when intensive care (ICU) patients are given enough vitamin C to restore healthy levels, clinical outcomes are dramatically improved, death rates are markedly reduced, and time spent in ICU is shorter.
The symposium will hear the latest evidence on this from leading US Critical Care Physician and researcher Dr Michael Hooper.
“Trials we’ve undertaken on a small number of severely infected patients given intravenous vitamin C compared to those who weren’t, have shown a significant improvement in survival” says Dr Hooper. “With minimal to no toxicity, the use of vitamin C for severe infections could well revolutionise the care of severely infected patients worldwide. Large trials are now underway which will settle the debate over whether or not severely-infected patients should be treated with intravenous vitamin C as standard care” he says.
International intensive care nurses will also discuss their personal experiences caring for patients treated with a new, ground-breaking Vitamin C protocol for serious infection.
The symposium has been endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and registered with The College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand.
‘Vitamin C for Cancer and Infection’ Symposium, February 15-16th, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), 6-24 St Paul Street, Auckland City. Public session will be held on Saturday February 16th 2.00pm-4.30pm; this includes 30-minute Q&A and panel discussion.