[MOL] Additional Information on Antioxidants as cancer fighters [03356] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Additional Information on Antioxidants as cancer fighters

The following information is additional to the post I just posted on
antioxidants. This additional news supports many of the messages that
are coming from our scientists in both the complementary and
conventional arena of medicines and therapies. HOpe this information is
beneficial to you when you plan your daily dietary menu.

(NYT Syndicate) -- While the role of antioxidants in preventing disease
has received much attention, some researchers think the vitamins may
also improve cancer treatment.

Giving cancer patients high doses of beta-carotene and vitamins C and E
may protect their healthy cells from the onslaught of tumor-killing
treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, say Denver researchers.
Further, they contend, the antioxidants may bolster the effectiveness of
standard cancer therapy.

No studies on humans back up these ideas, but in animal studies and
experiments on cancer cells, antioxidants have shown promise, according
to a report in the current issue of the Journal of the American College
of Nutrition.

Kedar N. Prasad, lead author of the report, said more definitive data
will come from a current trial of the effects of antioxidant treatment
on cancer patients. Already, though, Prasad and his colleagues at the
Center for Vitamins and Cancer Research at the University of Colorado
Health Sciences Center believe antioxidants may become an important
cancer weapon.

Antioxidants have been studied as disease fighters because they prevent
cell damage from oxygen molecules known as free radicals, which are
produced during normal metabolism. One recent study suggested that an
antioxidant found in tomatoes might explain the link between tomato
consumption and lowered risk for some cancers.

In their experiments, Prasad and colleagues found that high doses of
multiple antioxidants can not only protect normal cells during cancer
treatment, but can also help fight back tumors. Together with diet and
lifestyle changes, antioxidants may improve standard cancer therapy,
they reported.

Another antioxidant researcher, however, thinks Prasad's team is jumping
the gun. While the new report is "exciting and provocative," it really
only forms the base for further research, said Jeffrey Blumberg, a
professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston.

"I think antioxidants are terrific," Blumberg said, noting that there is
"compelling" data on antioxidants' benefits for the heart and eyes.
Evidence of the vitamins' link to cancer prevention is not as strong, he

According to Prasad, antioxidants have garnered little enthusiasm among
oncologists partly because they worry that the vitamins might actually
protect cancer cells from free radicals generated during chemotherapy
and radiation therapy.

"But," said Prasad, "these vitamins are very selective." Normal cells,
he explained, are programmed to pick up a maximum level of the vitamins
and nothing more, which protects them from an antioxidant overdose.
Cancer cells, however, accumulate the vitamin to levels that may be high
enough to stunt their growth or even kill them, according to Prasad.

Based on their experiments, as well as their observations of some cancer
patients receiving antioxidants, Prasad's team recommends that cancer
treatment include doses of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene.

But making cancer-treatment recommendations at this point constitutes a
big leap, according to Blumberg. Experiments on cell cultures, he said,
aren't enough to provide a "rational scientific basis" for such

Still, the Colorado team's results show antioxidants may have a role
beyond just the prevention of disease, Blumberg said. Clinical trials,
he added, should explore the possibility.

Journal of the American College of Nutrition (1999;18:13-25)


God Bless
marty auslander
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