The role of L-arginine in the fight against cancer

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There is much debate in medicine about the role of l-arginine in the fight against cancer. Research carried out at the University of Colorado Cancer Centre in 2011 revealed that L-arginine reactivates cancer fighting T-cells in patients with glioblastoma. This potentially is a breakthrough discovery revealing that boosting the immune system by way of reactivating T-cells may well be the way forward for cancer treatment.

The Role of L-arginine, Nitric Oxide and Oxygen

Increasing L-arginine intake allows the body to produce more nitric oxide within blood vessels. L-arginine relaxes the endothelial lining and allows the deprived areas of the body to be reached. L-arginine safely delivers oxygen to those deprived tissues affected. Dr. J Prendergast explains that this is helpful for cancer patients as it helps starve cancer cells. Newly created nitric oxide allows oxygen to reach these depleted areas. Furthermore another study by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute showed in 2005 that l-arginine adds nitric oxide to the blood’s hemoglobin. This is important as Hemoglobin is the bloods oxygen carrying component.

As a result, L-arginine has a significant role to play when used with radiotherapy treatment. Dr. Mark Dewhurst said, ‘if we could raise the level of tumor oxygenation before radiation, we would have a better chance of killing more of the cancer cells’. The role of l-arginine in the fight against cancer plays an integral part in correct treatment.

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