Friday, April 29, 2011

Arsenic shows promise as treatment for deadly brain tumors

Arsenic and its related compounds are mostly thought of as killers -- and these natural substances can be just that. Notoriously poisonous to myriad forms of life, arsenic is often used in pesticides. And water supplies in many parts of the world that are contaminated by the natural occurrence of arsenic compounds can cause serious health problems. But despite it's reputation as a dangerous chemical, arsenic has been used in tiny amounts in medicine for over 2,000 years.

Sound crazy? Not any more. Mainstream science has learned that traditional healers were on to something when they treated certain cancers and other difficult-to-treat problems with remedies containing arsenic. It turns out that while a high level of arsenic is known to be carcinogenic, low doses can be an anti-cancer therapy in some cases. For example, a Dutch population study found low levels of arsenic concentrations in drinking water not only didn't increase cancer incidence in people who drank it, but resulted in a decrease in skin cancers. What's more, starting in the 17th century, arsenic was the primary therapy for treating a type of leukemia known as chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Today the arsenic compound arsenic trioxide (ATO) is FDA approved for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia. And now there's more remarkably good news about normally feared arsenic. Read more...

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