/ Modified apr 12, 2012 6:04 p.m.

Can Baking Soda Battle Breast Cancer?

Tucson researcher receives $2 million grant to explore a new medical possibility

Millions of people turn to baking soda for cleaning or cooking, but scientists are now wondering if it has a loftier use: battling breast cancer.

It may sound far-fetched, but Dr. Mark "Marty" Pagel says it's an issue that deserves more study.

Pagel is a researcher at the University of Arizona Cancer Center who recently received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study whether a therapy using baking soda can help treat breast cancer.

Pagel tells Arizona Illustrated that the concept behind the therapy isn't complicated. When people exercise, they sometimes feel a burn in their muscles, he says, which has historically been attributed to the buildup of lactic acid.

"And in a very similar way tumors, cancer, is very metabolically active. It's also producing a lot of acid so the baking soda can neutralize that acid and actually slow down the tumor growth and prevent it from moving to other parts of the body," he explains.

However, Pagel stresses that this will be an intricate clinical trial with scientific oversight, analysis and monitoring. He warns against home remedies with baking soda, since the substance can have detrimental side effects.

"It's a very controversial field because it's very uncontrolled right now--patients can obviously go to the grocery story and buy baking soda and try a big healthy glass in the morning," he says. "I wouldn't recommend that at this point without the monitoring."

The clinical trial will begin in Phoenix with eight patients, but Pagel hopes to expand it to Tucson later this year. He expects to have some initial results in several months.

Experts say there were more then 200,000 new cases of breast cancer among women and men in the U.S. in 2011.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona