Dr. Marty Pagel, PhD, from the University of Arizona Cancer Center, will test the effects of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) on breast cancer patients.
The study will be funded by a $ 2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Cancer grows in an acidic environment (low pH), and the acid helps the cancer to metastasize (spread). Dr. Pagel and his colleagues will measure the pH of a tumour with a new MRI machine, and then test the efficacy of bicarbonate on cancer with the MRI machine. Thus, he hopes to develop a personalized treatment approach for each patient, by knowing what’s going on before and after the bicarbonate drink.
on mice has shown that oral bicarbonate increases tumour pH and reduces breast and prostate cancer metastasis.
Manipulation of tumour pH with bicarbonate has the potential to enhance survival too, as shown by another recent study on mice. Bicarbonate was administered to mice with breast cancer and compared to dichloroacetate (DCA), a compound that also reduces extracellular acidity. Bicarbonate-based protocols increased survival, while DCA on its own didn’t improve survival. This study was published in the journal BMC Cancer
Although bicarbonate may hold promise to treat various cancers, patients should not try to drink or inject bicarbonate solution without doctor supervision, because in some patients it could lead to serious side effects.