Qi Chen, PhD

Qi ChenAssistant Professor

Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry, Sun Yet-sen University, China 2003
Postdoctoral Fellow, NIDDK / NIH , 2008

Qi Chen, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics at The University of Kansas Medical Center. She collaborates regularly with Integrative Medicine, especially Dr. Jeanne Drisko, on research focused on high-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C as a cancer treatment. Dr. Chen’s work has helped make Integrative Medicine a world leader in the area of IV vitamin C treatment.

Dr. Chen’s work has found that intravenous administration of ascorbate (vitamin C) bypasses its physiological "tight control" of absorption for oral doses, and reaches concentrations in millimolars in the body. These pharmacologic concentrations of ascorbate exert a pro-oxidant action, in contrast to its normal anti-oxidant role. This pro-oxidant action selectively kills cancer cells but spares normal cells. A number of animal studies all over the world have confirmed her team’s discovery that ascorbate treatment reduced tumor growth of various cancers. Dr. Chen’s lab is focusing on understanding the mechanisms of the selective cell killing.

Dr. Chen’s lab also conducts translational cancer research. In collaboration with Dr. Drisko and Dr. Julia Chapman, her lab also conducted a Phase I/IIa trial in ovarian cancer patients, adding IV vitamin C to the standard carboplatin/paclitxol chemotherapy. IVC significantly decreased chemo-associated toxicities in the patients, and suggested prolonged disease relapse time. A Phase I/IIa trial in pancreatic cancer was also conducted in collaboration with Dr. Drisko and Dr. Stephen Williamson, adding IVC to gemcitabine, and positive results were shown.

In addition to continued research on IV vitamin C as cancer treatment, Dr. Chen’s lab also has ongoing projects studying natural products in treatment and prevention of pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer. For more details on Dr. Chen’s research, visit her faculty page.

Selected Publications:

Ma Y, Chapman J, Levine M, Polireddy K, Drisko J, Chen Q. High-dose parenteral ascorbate enchanced chemosensitivity of ovarian cancer and reduced toxicity of chemotherapy. Science Translational Medicine. 2014, 6, 222ra18.

Yu J, Chen Q. Antitumor activities of Rauwolfia vomitoria extract and potentiation of gemcitabine effects against pancreatic cancer. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2014, 13 (3): 217-25.

Chen P, Zhang Y, Polireddy K, Chen Q. The tumor-suppressing activity of the prenyl diphosphate synthase subunit 2 gene in lung cancer cells. Anti-Cancer Drugs. 2014, 25(7): 790-8.

Yu J, Drisko J, Chen Q. Inhibition of pancreatic cancer and potentiation of gemcitabine effects by extract of Pao Pereira. Oncology Report. 2013, 30 (1): 149-56.

Chen P, Yu J, Knecht J, Chen Q. Decrease of PDSS2 expression, a novel tumor suppressor, in non-small cell lung cancer. Cancer Epidemiology. 2013; 37: 166-71.

Ma Y, Sullivan G, Schrick E, Choi IY, He Z, Lierman J, Lee P, Drisko J, Chen Q. A convenient method for measuring blood ascorbate concentrations in patients receiving high-dose intravenous ascorbate. Journal of the American College of Nutrition; 2013, 32(3): 187-93.

Chen P, Yu J, Chalmers B, Drisko J, Yang J, Li BY,  Chen Q. Pharmacological Ascorbate Induces Cytotoxicity in Prostate Cancer Cells through ATP Depletion and Induction of Autophagy. Anti-Cancer Drugs; 2012; 23(4):437-44.

Espey MG, Chen P, Chalmers B, Drisko J, Sun AY, Levine M, Chen Q. Pharmacologic ascorbate synergizes with gemcitabine in pre-clinical models of pancreatic cancer. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011; 50(11): 1610-9. 

Chen P, Stone J, Sullivan G, Drisko J, Chen Q. Supplementary glutathione counteracts with pharmacologic ascorbate in pre-clinical cancer models. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011; 51(3):681

Chen Q., Espey M.G., Sun A.Y., Pooput C., Kirk K.L., Krishna M.C., Khosh D.B., Drisko J.A., Levine M.. Pharmacologic doses of ascorbate act as a pro-oxidant and decrease growth of aggressive tumor xenografts in mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008; 105 (32): 11105-9.

Chen Q., Espey M.G., Sun A.Y., Lee J.H., Cherukuri M.K., Shacter E, Choyke P.L., Pooput C., Kirk K.L., Buettner G.R., Levine M. Ascorbate in pharmacologic concentrations selectively generates ascorbate radical and hydrogen peroxide in extracellular fluid in vivo. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007; 104(21): 8749-54.

Chen Q., Espey M.G., Krishna M.C., Mitchell J.B., Corpe C.P., Buettner G.R., Shacter E., Levine M. Ascorbic acid at pharmacologic concentrations selectively kills cancer cells: ascorbic acid as a pro-drug for hydrogen peroxide delivery to tissues. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005; 102(38): 13604-9.