oxygen is one of life’s essential ingredients. cancer cells’ relationship with oxygen is a bit more complicated, and that realization has led to decades of research into whether oxygen is good for cancer or bad for it. the answers are still not definitive, but some have used the unknowns to fuel unsupported claims that certain types of oxygen therapies, including hyperbaric oxygen (hbo) therapy, can cure cancer. when you breathe, oxygen passes into the lungs and is carried into the blood to feed cells throughout the body. cancer cells also need oxygen to survive, which is one reason why tumors make new vessels that tap into the body’s blood supply, a process called angiogenesis. so, if tumors thrive and resist treatment when starved of oxygen, wouldn’t flooding them with oxygen have the opposite effect? that’s the theory behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which has been touted as a viable cancer treatment.
hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which uses high pressure to force concentrated oxygen into the bloodstream, has been used for decades to treat decompression sickness. one of the most common causes of the bends occurs when deep-sea divers ascend to the surface too quickly. hyperbaric oxygen therapy is also used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning and deep infections or to help wounds heal. “since the root of all problems is the lack of oxygen in tumors, a simple solution is to give tumors more oxygen,” northeastern university researcher michail sitkovsky told nbc news. but the same article quoted the american cancer society as saying, “available scientific evidence does not support claims that putting oxygen-releasing chemicals into a person’s body is effective in treating cancer.” a 2012 review by researchers in norway showed that hyperbaric oxygen slowed the growth of some cancers but not others. “differences in response to oxygen between different cancer types should not lead to an exclusion of hbo as a form of cancer treatment or as a cancer treatment adjuvant for selected types of cancers,” the review said. presenting higher than normal concentrations of oxygen to treat cancer has not been proven scientifically to kill the disease.”
an environment of pure oxygen at three-and-a-half times normal air pressure adds significantly to the effectiveness of a natural compound already shown to kill cancerous cells, researchers at the university of washington and washington state university recently reported in the journal anticancer research. researchers at uw and wsu are exploring its ability to treat cancer.scott bauer, usda agricultural research service, bugwood.org in the new study, using artemisinin or high-pressure oxygen alone on a culture of human leukemia cells reduced the cancer cells growth by 15 percent. in the early 1970s, lai says, chinese leader mao zedong issued an order to develop an anti-malarial treatment. at the same time, a farmer in central china discovered a 2,000-year-old tomb that contained three coffins.
in the decades since, scientists have discovered artemisinin reacts with iron within a cell to form a free radical, a highly reactive charged particle that destroys the cell. lai and colleagues at the uw developed a variant several thousand times more potent than natural artemisinin, which was licensed in 2004 to a chinese company. in 2010, he put the theory to the test in a hyperbaric chamber that co-author raymond quock, wsu professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences, has been using to study highly pressurized oxygens ability to relieve pain. a photo of pop singer jackson in the mid-80s sleeping in a portable hyperbaric chamber sparked rumors that he was trying to heal scars from plastic surgery, retain his youthful appearance or extend his lifespan. in clinical practice, the artemisinin-hyperbaric study could lead to people or animals spending time in a hyperbaric chamber to enhance the artemisinins effectiveness.
some have used the unknowns to fuel claims that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can cure cancer. oxygen is one of life’s essential ingredients. in the new study, using artemisinin or high-pressure oxygen alone on a culture of human leukemia cells reduced the cancer cells growth by 15 hyperbaric oxygen can be used to overcome hypoxia. hbo is based on administration of 100 % oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure., .
oxygen therapies are expensive, unproven, and harmful alternatives promoted in appealing and convincing ways for the treatment of cancer and other major diseases. supporters claim that low levels of oxygen enable cancer cells to thrive and that an oxygen-rich environment destroys them. through oxygen therapy, doctors may be able to kill a cancer cell and control or reduce tumor cell proliferation. introducing oxygen to cancer hyperbaric oxygen therapy (hbo) was first proposed as an alternative treatment for cancer and other conditions in the 1960s. at the time, research studies hyperbaric oxygen therapy (hbot) increases the amount of oxygen in the body. it is used to help with some, .
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