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Letters to the Editor Issue 209

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 209 - October 2013

Patricia Ann Pilkington MBE, Co-Founder of Penny Brohn Cancer Care

3/11/1928 - 19.08.2013


Founder of world renowned cancer care centre passes away…..   


Pat Pilkington, the much loved and inspirational co-founder of Penny Brohn Cancer Care (formerly Bristol Cancer Help Centre) passed away at her home in Chew Magna Bristol on Monday 19 August after a brief period of illness. Pat was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Pat Pilkington

Pat was married to Canon Christopher Pilkington (of the Pilkington Glass family, Deceased 2007), former rector of St Stephen’s City Parish Church, Bristol. Pat dedicated herself to supporting people with cancer for most of her life, continuing to do so until the end. The centre that Pat co-founded, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, is recognized throughout the UK as a centre of excellence, offering supportive courses, therapies and activities to help people live well with the impact of cancer. These are designed to work alongside medical treatment and Pat worked with many healthcare professionals, all of whom were eager to learn from her.

Pat Pilkington was raised in London until the turmoil of war took the family to Buckinghamshire where she attended Berkhamstead School for Girls. She went on to study at The Central School for Speech and Drama based in the Albert Hall. A career in teaching drama followed, taking Pat to Worcester in 1949. Pat had a deep faith and a wonderful voice and was delighted to join the choir at Worcester Cathedral.  It was here that she met and fell in love with Canon Christopher Pilkington.  They married in 1954 and so started their joint life of committed Christian ministry.

In 1968 Pat joined Radio Bristol as a producer and made programmes on many topics, but increasingly she became aware of individuals who had faced traumatic illness and been helped by a holistic approach. Together she and Christopher created a welcoming environment for open discussion between holistic and orthodox medical practitioners. One memorable encounter was with a young acupuncturist, Penny Brohn, who had recently discovered she had breast cancer.

Their crusading energy and pioneering spirit led to the creation of the charity, The Bristol Cancer Help Centre, formerly based in Clifton Bristol, now world renowned as Penny Brohn Cancer Care. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales honoured the Charity by officially opening the Centre in July 1983, and became its Patron in 1997.

Her constant and enduring service for those affected by cancer and their families was recognized in 2003 when she was awarded an MBE.  Pat’s energy, spirit and vision have helped transform cancer care.  Her focus on caring for the mind and the spirit, as much as the body, was revolutionary 30 years ago.  It is a testament to her legacy that this is very much the norm today.

In the final year of Pat’s life she fell and broke her hip. With typical grit and courage she turned around this time of challenge and pain to create the culminating focal point of her life’s work and spiritual endeavour. The manuscript of her book The Golden Thread leaves behind a record of her inspirational teaching to sustain those who are in need of comfort at a time of crisis.

Pat lived a life of open hearted generosity of love and care for all who met her - be it for an hour, a day, or a lifetime - teaching us how to live well through her example. Her grace in parting from this life and her firm belief that she will be reunited with Christopher completes the legacy of this remarkable woman.

Penny Brohn Cancer Care

The charity, formerly known as The Bristol Cancer Help Centre was founded in 1980 by Penny Brohn and Pat Pilkington. Originally based in Clifton Bristol, the charity was officially opened in 1983 by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales who became patron in 1997. Penny Brohn, Pat’s co-founder, died in 1999. Pat was awarded MBE in 2003. The Centre changed its name to Penny Brohn Cancer Care and relocated to a purpose built centre in 2006. The Centre is now based at Chapel Pill Lane, Ham Green, Bristol, BS20 OHH. For more information on the work of the Centre please visit:  



For Donations, please visit the Pat Pilkington Memorial Page:  



Vitamin C, Shingles, and Vaccination

Opinion by Thomas E Levy MD JD

The pharmaceutical industry, and many doctors, appear to be making great efforts by to get as many people as possible vaccinated against shingles. Even if such an intervention was highly effective in preventing shingles, which certainly has not been shown to be the case, the information below should make it clear that such vaccinations are unnecessary. The side effects that would be suffered by a significant number of individuals need never occur in the first place. The real problem is that what is discussed below generates relatively little income for anybody in the healthcare industry. Regardless, you need to decide for yourself.

Shingles is an infection resulting from the Varicella zoster virus, usually manifesting in areas supplied by spinal nerves, known as dermatomes. More commonly known in medical circles as Herpes zoster, the infection is typically characterized by a blistering skin rash of extraordinary pain for most individuals. The initial infection with the virus is usually remote from the shingles outbreak, typically occurring in childhood when chickenpox is contracted. For years the virus remains latent in nerve cell bodies or autonomic ganglia. It is when the virus, for unclear reasons, breaks out of these storage sites and travels down the nerve axons that shingles occurs.

Left to itself along with mainstream therapies that include analgesics, antiviral agents like acyclovir, and corticosteroids, the rash will generally resolve in two to four weeks. The pain is generally lessened little by analgesics. Some unfortunate individuals can experience post-herpetic neuralgia, a syndrome of residual nerve pain that can continue for months or years following a shingles outbreak.

Treatment of Shingles with Vitamin C

The clinical response of shingles to vitamin C therapy is decidedly different from its response to traditional therapies. While there are not many reports in the literature on vitamin C and shingles, the studies that do exist are striking. Frederick Klenner MD, who pioneered the effective use of vitamin C in a wide variety of infections and toxin exposures, published the results of his vitamin C therapy on eight patients with shingles. He gave 2,000 to 3,000 mg of vitamin C by injection every 12 hours, supplemented by 1,000 mg in fruit juice by mouth every two hours. In seven of the eight patients treated in this manner, complete pain relief was reported within two hours of the first vitamin C injection. All patients received a total of five to seven vitamin C injections. Having had shingles myself years before, I knew of the efficacy of vitamin C therapy, I can assert that this is nothing short of a stunning result on what is usually a painful and debilitating disease.

Furthermore, the blisters on Dr Klenner's patients were reported to begin healing rapidly, with complete resolution within the first 72 hours. As with other infectious conditions, Dr Klenner hastened to add that treatment needed to continue for at least 72 hours, as recurrence could readily occur even when the initial response was positive. Dr Klenner also found a similar regimen of vitamin C just as readily resolved the blistering lesions of chickenpox, with the recoveries usually complete in three to four days. Similar clinical response by chickenpox and shingles to vitamin C is further evidence, albeit indirect, that the chickenpox virus and the later appearing Herpes zoster virus are the same pathogen.[6,7]

Even before Dr Klenner's observations were published, another researcher reported results just as astounding when measured against today's mainstream therapies. Dainow [3] reported success with 14 shingles patients receiving vitamin C injections. In another study, complete resolution of shingles outbreaks was reported in 327 of 327 patients receiving vitamin C injections within the first 72 hours.[12] While all of this data on vitamin C and shingles is quite old, there is an internal consistency among the report in how the patients responded. Until further clinical trials are conducted, these results stand. They clearly show that vitamin C should be an integral part of any therapeutic approach used on a patient presenting with shingles.

Vitamin C and Viruses

Vitamin C has a general virus-inactivating effect, with herpes viruses being only one of many types of virus that vitamin C has neutralized in the test tube or has eradicated in an infected person.[8] As with the inactivation seen with other viruses mixed with vitamin C in the test tube (in vitro), two early studies were consistent with the clinical results later seen with vitamin C in herpes infections. Vitamin C inactivated herpes viruses when mixed with them in the test tube.[4,5]

The most important factor in the treatment of any virus with vitamin C is to give enough, for a long enough period of time. Certain chronic viral syndromes do not promptly resolve with vitamin C administration, but there is yet to be an acute viral syndrome that vitamin C cannot resolve promptly, unless the patient already has extensive tissue / organ damage and is literally only moments away from death.

Vitamin C therapy can never be considered a failure in an acute viral syndrome until multiple forms have been used in large doses together. While a majority of acute viral syndromes will rapidly resolve with properly-dosed vitamin C of any kind, resistant cases need to be subjected to a multi-pronged approach to vitamin C administration. Such a regimen can include, but not necessarily be limited to:

  1. 1,000 to 5,000 milligrams of liposome-encapsulated vitamin C orally daily;
  2. Bowel tolerance doses of vitamin C as sodium ascorbate orally daily;
  3. 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily of fat-soluble ascorbyl palmitate orally daily;
  4. Intravenous vitamin C, 25,000 to 150,000 mg per infusion, depending on body size, as frequently as daily, depending on the severity of the infection.

Vitamin C accumulating inside viral particles can rapidly destroy viruses by that approach. The spike of the bacteriophage virus is laden with iron, and the focal Fenton reaction† is probably how it penetrates its host cell membrane.[1,2,11] Viruses accumulate iron and copper, and these metals are also part of the surfaces of viruses.[9] As such, wherever the concentrations are the highest, vitamin C will focally upregulate the Fenton reaction, and irreversible viral damage will generally ensue. Fenton activity and its upregulation is the only really well-documented way by which viruses, pathogens, and also cancer cells can be killed by vitamin C, and it is the stimulation of this reaction by vitamin C that makes it therapeutically effective in resolving many infections and cancers.[10]

Vitamin C helps resolve infections of all varieties, but its effect on acute viral syndromes are especially dramatic and prompt, and it should always be part of any treatment protocol for an infected patient.

About the Author

Dr Thomas Levy is a board-certified cardiologist as well as an attorney. He is the author of several books, including Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins.


1. Bartual, S., J. Otero, C. Garcia-Doval, et al. Structure of the bacteriophage T4 long tail fiber receptor-binding tip. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107:20287-20292. PMID: 21041684. 2010.

2. Browning, C., M. Shneider, V. Bowman, et al., Phage pierces the host cell membrane with the iron-loaded spike. Structure 20:326-339. PMID: 22325780. 2012.

3. Dainow, I. Treatment of herpes zoster with vitamin C. Dermatologia 68:197-201. 1943.

4. Holden, M. and E. Molloy  Further experiments on the inactivation of herpes virus by vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid). Journal of Immunology 33:251-257. 1937.

5. Holden, M. and R. Resnick  The in vitro action of synthetic crystalline vitamin C (ascorbic acid) on herpes virus. Journal of Immunology 31:455-462. 1936.

6. Klenner, F. The treatment of poliomyelitis and other virus diseases with vitamin C. Southern Medicine & Surgery 111:209-214. PMID: 18147027. 1949.

7. Klenner, F. Significance of high daily intake of ascorbic acid in preventive medicine. Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine 1:45-69. 1974.

8. Levy, T. Curing the Incurable. Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins. MedFox Publishing, Henderson, NV. 2002.

9. Samuni, A., J. Aronovitch, D. Godinger, et al. On the cytotoxicity of vitamin C and metal ions. A site-specific Fenton mechanism. European Journal of Biochemistry 137:119-124. PMID: 6317379. 1983.

10. Vilcheze, C., T. Hartman, B. Weinrick, and W. Jacobs, Jr. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is extraordinarily sensitive to killing by a vitamin C-induced Fenton reaction. Nature Communications 4:1881. PMID: 23695675. 2013.

11. Yamashita, E., A. Nakagawa, J. Takahashi, et al. The host-binding domain of the P2 phage tail spike reveals a trimeric iron-binding structure. Acta Crystallographica. Section F, Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 67:837-841. PMID: 21821878. 2011.

12. Zureick, M. Therapy of herpes and herpes zoster with intravenous vitamin C. Journal des Praticiens 64:586. PMID: 14908970. 1950.


† Several metals have a special oxygen transfer properties which improve the use of hydrogen peroxide. Actually, some metals have a strong catalytic power to generate highly reactive hydroxyl radicals (.OH). Since this discovery, the iron catalyzed hydrogen peroxide has been called Fenton's reaction.

Further Information

Andrew W Saul PhD - Editor and contact person.

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Editorial Review Board

Ian Brighthope MD (Australia)

Ralph K. Campbell MD (USA)

Carolyn Dean MD ND (USA)

Damien Downing MD (United Kingdom)

Dean Elledge DDS MS (USA)

Michael Ellis MD (Australia)

Martin P. Gallagher MD DC (USA)

Michael Gonzalez DSc PhD (Puerto Rico)

William B. Grant PhD (USA)

Michael Janson MD (USA)

Robert E. Jenkins DC (USA)

Bo H. Jonsson MD PhD (Sweden)

Peter H Lauda MD (Austria)

Thomas Levy MD JD (USA)

Stuart Lindsey Pharm D (USA)

Jorge R. Miranda-Massari Pharm D (Puerto Rico)

Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada MD (Finland)

Erik Paterson MD (Canada)

W Todd Penberthy PhD (USA)

Gert E. Schuitemaker PhD (Netherlands)

Robert G. Smith PhD (USA)

Jagan Nathan Vamanan MD (India)

Ausuo Yanagisawa Md PhD (Japan)


  1. Andrew Cutler said..

    Vitamin D3 in sufficiently high doses (i.e. many times above the RDA of 400 iu's or so daily) will also work against viral replication via inhibition of the enzyme neurominidase which is required for cellular infiltration.
    The excellent book " The vitamin D revolution" is certainly worthy of note here
    Vitamin C in high doses has always been regarded too as being able to block the collagen digesting enzymes produced by cancer cells whilst actually strengthening collagen thus substantiating the above research.

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