Vitamin D is a potent anticancer agent and active against a wide variety of types of cancer cells. A major drawback to the use of vitamin D to treat cancer is that vitamin D raises blood calcium, in other words it has a calcaemic action. This can lead to a heart attack and coma. Chemists at the Pharmaceutical Research Institute in Warsaw have now synthesized new vitamins D that are potent anticancer agents and that have a lowered calcaemic action. The activity of the new vitamins D against leukaemia cells has been tested by colleagues at the Universities of Wroclaw, Ben-Gurion of the Negev and Birmingham. The new agents provide a way forward towards a safer and more effective treatment for acute leukaemia whereby the leukaemia cells are driven by vitamin D to mature and die naturally.
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