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October 17, 1990

Cancer Institute Takes a Look at Ascorbic Acid

JAMA. 1990;264(15):1926. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450150024006

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THE NATIONAL CANCER Institute is taking a look at the biologic functions of ascorbic acid, beginning with a 3-day symposium that Nobelist Linus Pauling, PhD, Palo Alto, Calif, says revealed "an astonishing amount of information bearing on ascorbic acid and its relation to cancer; I didn't realize there was so much."

The institute's Gladys Block, PhD, says a number of the symposium reports on ascorbic acid's effects on animals and in cell cultures are worth pursuing. She notes a suggested role for ascorbate as an adjuvant to conventional cancer therapy and to reduce toxicity.

One move in this direction is to ask the investigators to return to Bethesda, Md, site of the institute and symposium, for additional discussion of their work.

The symposium had its genesis in a meeting 18 months ago between Pauling and the National Cancer Institute's director, Samuel Broder, MD. Among results of that meeting, Pauling says,