CANCER CHAPTER 72
Scientific breakthroughs do not obey the laws Of supply and demand. Millions in research grants do not guarantee results. No matter how much society may need a particular cure or vaccine, sometimes it's just not available at any price.
By the same token, important advances may take place in the most under funded, understaffed lab. Dedication and inspiration sometimes get results that money can't.
The work of Sister Mary Eymard Poydock, Ph.D., director of cancer research and former professor of biology at Mereyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, is a case in point. The Mercyhurst labs are not large or well endowed. But 20 years of painstaking work by Sister Eymard and her associates have now produced results, which indicate that a combination of vitamins C and B 12 may have a powerful effect against cancer. While Sister Eymard's work has been confined to laboratory animals, the implications for further research are obvious.
For 20 years, Sister Eymard, has been testing a substance that ha been advanced as a possible anti-cancer agent. The first results were promising, and the name "mercytamin" (from the Sisters of Mercy) was applied to the substance. Mercytamin was actually a combination of vitamins C, B12 and a variety enzymes. Through scientific testing of the solution, the enzymes and other chemical additives were eliminated as possible active agents. Finally, only the vitamins remained, and in 1978 the name marcytamin was dropped.
Sister Eymard held back on publishing her findings until she was certain the results she was getting were true. We've done enough experiments now, testing hundreds of mice, to establish that it works," Sister Eymard says. "We've got it down to a point now where, if you do it according to the 'recipe,' it will work every time. "
Sister Eymard and her research staff implanted three common types of cancer into laboratory mice- sarcomas (cancerous growths of connective tissues), carcinomas (cancers of skin like tissues) and leukemias (cancers of the blood-forming organs). Those cancerous tissues were implanted both in the abdomens and under the skin of the mice. The mice were then injected with the mixture of vitamins C and B 12 (in a ratio of one part B12 to two parts C) near the site of the tumor transplant.
Within four days, some of the tumors from the abdomens of the mice were removed, and the cells were examined under the microscope. There was a dramatic change in the tissue. The cancerous cell division had stopped completely. Tumors Didn't Grow.
The tumors growing under the skin were treated the day after implant with the C- B 12 combination. The results were similar-no tumors would grow. In the control animals, those mice with transplanted tumors which were not given the C B12 combination), the tumors continued to grow at a rapid rate.
Inhibiting tumor growth was only part of the results of Sister Eymard's experiments. She also wanted to see if the C-Bl2 mixture would prolong the lives of animals already suffering from cancer. To find out, Sister Eymard and her colleagues injected the mixture near the cancerous growths of diseased mice for seven successive days.
Treated animals lived longer than those mice not given C and B 12. In fact, all the treated mice outlived the control group. It appeared that the combination of C and B12 not only inhibits the growth of cancer cells, but also prolongs the lives of animals impregnated with cancer.
"There are few things presently on the market that will ensure a 100 percent survival rate with cancer," Sister Eymard says, "but we had a 100 percent survival rate after the controls were dead. Most of the treated mice outlived the controls two or three weeks."
To be sure that it was really the C-B 12 concoction, and not an unknown factor present in mice, that was responsible for her results, Sister Eymard conducted experiments on free-living cancer cells growing on a culture medium. The vitamin C- B12 complex was used as a treatment on three types of cancer cells and on healthy cells, as well. The treated cells, the untreated control group and the healthy cells were left to incubate.
At the end of the incubation period, the untreated control group was infested with cancer cells. In the treated group, however, not one cancer cell of any of the three types was to be found. The healthy, noncancerous cells were unaffected by the C-B 12 complex. It appeared that Sister Eymard had found a cancer-inhibiting agent that not only stopped many kinds of cancer, but did so with absolutely no side effects in healthy tissue.
Sister Eymard also tested each vitamin separately to determine if either was primarily responsible for the anti-cancer effects. The combination of the two vitamins, however, always performed much more effectively than either one alone.
Tests showed that the combination might be working by boosting the animals' immune systems to fight the cancer. Sister Eymard is confident that, with more experimentation, especially on larger mammals and humans, the vitamin C-B 1 2 combination could prove to be a useful preventive weapon in the fight to eliminate the second leading cause of death in America.
The scientific community has taken note of Sister Eymard's findings.
A spokesman for the American Cancer Society, which helps fund Sister Eymard's research, told us "The physicians on the committee which reviewed Sister Eymard's work were most impressed with the results she was getting. She has come forth with work of considerable promise. "
Sister Eymard herself takes a modest stance. "I'm glad you're looking
into this," She told us. "Every bit of information helps to educate the public. It might give them some hope, and that's what they need most."