Hyperbaric Oxygen & Intravenous Vitamin C
By Alexander Thermos, DO, DC
Oasis of Hope Cancer Support Clinic
Cancerous tumors, due to their fast metabolism, exist best in a “Low Oxygen” environment (therefore operating in an anaerobic capacity). Internally the cells because of the Anaerobic Metabolism also create a more “acidic” environment. It is this Low Oxygen / Acidic Environment that cancerous tumors operate best – as their internal chemistry has adapted and functions well in this situation. It is also this internal “acidic” environment which can be affected by diet in trying to render the internal cellular environment as well as the external cellular environment a more “alkaline” nature – and thereby hampering the individual cellular mechanics.
When we expose tumors to a surplus of oxygen, their internal environment / enzyme systems don’t function as well. The internal environment becomes less “acidic” (i.e. relatively more “alkaline), and the tumor cell retains significantly more oxygen. This “surplus” of oxygen functions to “gum-up” the internal chemistry of the Tumor Cell, and metabolic processes slow down as well as become less efficient. This, in effect can function to “slow down” the growth and “stun” the Tumor. This allows us to take advantage of the “stunned” tumor, as its defense mechanisms are also inhibited.
Hypoxia is also a partial mechanism, as created by the tumor, to drive migration of the tumor cells. An elegant example of this is the specific Brain Tumor GLIOBLASTOMA MULTIFORME. As the tumor grows, it rapidly outgrows its blood supply – thereby causing the Tumor to initiate migration to a more Oxygen – rich environment. Although the tumor exists best in a state of Low Oxygen tension, it still requires Oxygen (in small amounts) for its metabolic processes. While the tumor grows so fast that its “core” becomes “Oxygen Deprived” – and the cells die – creating a vacuole, the peripheral aspects of the tumor begin to migrate to a more Oxygen – rich environment to survive. In essence, migration of the Tumor to a more Oxygen sufficient environment.
We can also view Tumor Metastasis in the same way. Rapidly growing Tumors – despite stimulating Angiogenesis by secreting VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), still cannot supply enough Oxygen (although requiring only small amounts) to the Tumor periphery, and therefore Inter – Cellular Binding Proteins become less of a priority to the main body of the Tumor. “Satellites” of Tumor Cells break away from the main Tumor, and migrate to distance until the surface proteins (Galectins) initiate adhesion in a viable vascular bed that would provide Oxygen and Nutrients to the “Satellite” Tumor. Once established, these “Satellites” begin functioning in the same manner as the initial “mother-ship” Tumor- and we then have completed Metastasis and viability of the new “daughter” Tumor. The more rapidly growing the Tumor is, the more rapidly its Oxygen requirements can be “outgrown” – and can be considered aggressive and its intent to become widely Metastatic.
In this instance, by “stunning” the Tumor – we can in essence help mitigate the circumstances of Metastasis, and therefore help control the aggressive nature of the Tumor, as well as its ability to invade both nearby and distant body sites.
Chemotherapy is dominantly by nature an Oxidative process. By exposing rapidly growing cells to Rx Chemotherapy, we are in essence damaging the cells to the point of destruction, or in other situations – enough to initiate apoptosis. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an Oxidative process in itself, and can initiate ‘damage’ to the rapidly growing Tumor Cells. This then renders them more vulnerable to the effects of either Rx Chemotherapy, or Radiation Therapy – both of which are strong oxidative processes. In essence, the Tumor is weakened by the Oxidative effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, and therefore is more readily killed / or pushed toward apoptosis when more toxic processes (Chemotherapy / Radiation) are added to the regimen.
The flooding of the body with 25x the amount of Oxygen that it normally would be able to carry (as in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy – the Oxygen is not only saturating the Red Cell Hemoglobin, but also dissolved within the Plasma), allows the plasma itself to become an Oxidative assault on the Tumor. This then allows for the accumulation of large amounts of interstitial / inter-cellular Hydrogen Peroxide (H202). Hydrogen Peroxide, un-regulated, is virtually toxic to all cells. However, non-cancerous cells have a generous amount of an available enzyme known as ‘Catalase’, which can render the highly reactive H202 molecule non-toxic. The situation for Tumor / Cancer Cells is quite different, as they are well known for their inability to generate sufficient ‘Catalase’ – as all Tumors can either generate only a limited supply or virtually none at all ( Tumor-specific property). The beauty of this is that by exposing the Tumor to Hyperbaric Oxygen, the H202 generated has an Oxidative effect on Tumor cells – and virtually no adverse effect on healthy cells due to their ability to generate ‘Catalase’.
It is a well-known fact that Tumor uptake of glucose is exponentially greater than that of other cells, which explains the Tumor surface having up to 25x the number of Insulin Receptors. Tumor cells love to gobble up glucose, and indiscriminately do so more rapidly than normal cells in the body. We take advantage of this fact when we are doing a PET – Scan, as the Tumor gobbles up the Radioactively Tagged** Glucose molecule faster than other cells in the body. It is because of this that we can then view the ‘concentrations’ of radioactivity on the PET – Scan as being ‘active’ Tumor.
When looking at the Ascorbic Acid / Vitamin C molecule, it bears a striking resemblance to a Glucose molecule. Close enough that when taken at a quick glance, it can be mistaken for Glucose. Tumors, because of their greedy nature, can inadvertently consume Ascorbic Acid / Vitamin C when consuming Glucose, and therefore concentrate it greatly within the cell. “Hoarding” of all of this Vitamin C (when administered intravenously) causes great concentrations within the cell – which curiously enough as a byproduct of the Metabolism of the Vitamin C – causes an increase in production of Hydrogen Peroxide (H202). While this is exported outside of the Tumor cell once it begins to accumulate, the accumulation of H202 both within the Cell and at the Extracellular level causes significant Oxidation of the Tumor Cell. Again, causing damage to make the cell ‘non-viable’, and / or becoming an initiating factor for apoptosis.
When combining the two therapies together – Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Intravenous Vitamin C – we have created a Non-Toxic therapy that is particularly effective at ‘Stunning’ the Tumor, is Tumoricidal, and can help initiate Apoptosis. Additionally, when combined with other Oxidative Therapies (Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy), this Non-Toxic approach provides significant adjunctive benefit for the more traditionally accepted therapies. In essence, this is a ‘Win – Win’ for the patient.
There are only a few situations where IV Vitamin C cannot be utilized – one being where the patient is allergic to the substrate the Vitamin C is generated from (Corn, Beet, and Sago-Palm etc.) This is of course determined from the patient’s medical history, and if found to be allergic to one form (corn), another form being used is generally of no problem (Beet, Sago-Palm etc.)
Additionally, there is an enzyme which must be tested for in the blood to be present in adequate amounts. Patients are regularly screened for a Glucose-6-Phosphate-Dehydrogenase deficiency (G-6-PD). Should there be an inadequate production of the enzyme present; the patient would be at risk for a massive hemolytic (Red Cell Destruction) reaction. In cases such as this, IV Vitamin C cannot be considered as a viable therapy.