Massacring Cancer with Oxygen and Bicarbonates

Oxygen has a Toxic Effect on Cancer Cells

Tumors often express unusual antigens and are surrounded by immune cells. Unfortunately, this immune surveillance is imperfect and does not always prevent the tumors from growing. In addition, tumors are often hypoxic, because their rapid growth outstrips that of their blood and oxygen supply.

Now, Hatfield et al. have linked these two phenomena by demonstrating that T cells avoid going into the hypoxic areas of tumors. The authors have also shown a way to overcome this problem in mice with lung tumors by having the animals breathe supplementary oxygen. Having a higher concentration of oxygen throughout the body improved the oxygenation inside the tumors, allowing immune cells to enter the tumors and attack them, extending the animals’ survival.

Acidity turns oxygen-starved cancer
cells dormant and drug resistant.
-Ludwig Cancer Research

Anti-tumor T cells either avoid or are inhibited in hypoxic and extracellular adenosine-rich tumor microenvironments (TMEs).[1] This may limit further advances in cancer immunotherapy so we need to cut right through the hypoxia with a dual sided sword. One one side we send in vast armies of oxygen and then we do an end around and stab the cancer cells in the back with carbon dioxide, in the form of sodium bicarbonate. Bicarbonates, will increase oxygen by reducing acidity.

Tumors rapidly ferment glucose to lactic acid even in the presence of oxygen, and coupling high glycolysis with poor perfusion leads to extracellular acidification. Tumour acidity is known to contribute to prostate carcinogenesis by altering the state of macrophage activation.

“Studies conducted at the University of Bari in Italy clearly demonstrated that a hallmark of all tumors, regardless of their origin or background, is their acidic environment. In fact, tumor progression increased with an acidic pH and hypoxia, or a low oxygen level,” writes Dr. Veronique Desaulniers. The perturbation in pH dynamics rises very early in carcinogenesis and is one of the most common patho-physiological hallmarks of tumors.”

A Ludwig Cancer Research study uncovered the mechanism by which cells enter a state of dormancy as tissues starved of oxygen become increasingly acidic. Large swaths of solid tumors are often deprived of oxygen; cells in such patches are thought to be a major source of drug resistance and disease relapses. The more acid the more hypoxic the harder the cancer cells resist therapy unless of course their acid-mediated state is targeted, which is easily done with bicarbonates (sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate and magnesium bicarbonate.)

Published in the journal Cell, the Ludwig study details how in response to acidity cells turn off a critical molecular switch known as mTORC1 that, in ordinary conditions, gauges the availability of nutrients before giving cells the green light to grow and divide. That shuts down the cell's production of proteins, disrupting their metabolic activity and circadian clocks, pushing them into a quiescent state. "But if you add baking soda to the drinking water given to those mice, the entire tumor lights up with mTOR activity. The prediction would be that by reawakening these cells, you could make the tumor far more sensitive to therapy."

Buffering against acidification or inhibiting lactic
acid production fully rescues circadian oscillation.
-Ludwig Institute for Cancer

When bicarbonate is given to mice in their drinking water, it neutralizes the acidity of hypoxic patches in tumors. This sends lysosomes zipping back to the nuclear periphery in cells -- where RHEB was waiting -- and restored the activity of mTOR. "Cells don't want to make proteins or other biomolecules when they're under stress," says Dr. Chi Van Dang, scientific director of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer. "They want to slow things down and only awaken when things return to normal."

Acidic conditions in tissues shut off a lot of things.
-Dr. Chi Van Dang

Injecting oxygen into cancerous tumors significantly boosts the chances of recovery. The question is how to best do this. In the following chapters we introduce EWOT (Exercise with Oxygen Therapy) and contrast training with is EWOT on steroids. In earlier chapters we have covered bicarbonate therapies extensively and how this simple, safe and inexpensive medicine gives us so much control over carbon dioxide physiology.

Virtually every cancer patient will benefit from the use of sodium bicarbonate because it treats the low oxygen acid conditions universally found in cancer patients. Sodium bicarbonate shrinks tumors. (Bicarbonate inhibits spontaneous metastases (Robey 2009). ‘Bicarbonate Increases Tumor pH and Inhibits Spontaneous Metastases’ according to medical scientistsNaHCO3 therapy significantly reduced the formation of hepatic metastases.

[1] Immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects of supplemental oxygenation.

Science Translational Medicine 04 Mar 2015: