The use of urea as a treatment for certain types of cancer is of interest because it is inexpensive, nontoxic, and virtually without side effects. Researchers have begun to test urea and have found that it has cytokinetic and cytotoxic effects when tested in cell culture studies with a line of human cancer cells.
A study in India reported up to a 75-percent reduction of inoperable cancer of the uterine cervix with the use of injections of 40-percent urea solution directly into the tumor along with a localized application of a 50-percent urea ointment. Sixty percent of these patients responded well, while only twenty-five percent had a minimal response. In the same study patients who had multiple secondary metastasis to the liver experienced significant symptomatic relief with orally administered urea.
The cellular surfaces of malignant tumor cells are known to contain large amounts ofglycoproteins and other large molecular surface-active agents. These surfactants on cancer cells have hy-drophobic (water-repelling) properties at nonpolar sites and hy-drophilic (water-attracting) properties at polar sites. This produces a structured water matrix surrounding cancer cells that is substantially different from that surrounding normal cells. Some researchers have theorized that this difference can account for some of the characteristics of malignant tumor growth. Apparently the structured water matrix produces a loss of the cellular contact inhibition that is associated with cancer. This means that cancer cells don't mind crowding together. It also enables cancer cells to excrete and absorb nutrients and other chemicals in an abnormal way.
In 1977 researchers at the University of Illinois Medical Center showed that substances that are capable of disrupting the water matrix of malignant cells will exert anticancer effects. Their investigations of the activity of urea indicated that when urea is administered under proper conditions and in the appropriate concentrations, it disrupts the cellular water matrix and interferes with the processes necessary for continued uncontrolled cellular growth.
The same group of researchers reported that daily injections of a 40-percent urea solution directly into tumor masses and into the area surrounding the growth were successful in regressing and eradicating well-established malignant melanomas in laboratory animals. It has also been shown that additive synergistic effects can be achieved against malignant tumors when urea is used concurrently with localized hyperthermia treatments.
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