Vitamin C is known to be an effective component in the the treatment of some diseases and for regulating key parts of the body’s functioning. Now, new findings suggest that Vitamin C could also be a novel cancer treatment.
Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D said in an older study that administering vitamin C is an important part of any cancer treatment program. One important discovery in trials was that giving large amounts of Vitamin B3, along with vitamin C to patients in cancer treatment programs, regardless of their diagnosis, tended to do very well.
However, the molecular mechanism that leads to such results remains unknown. Many clinical trials aiming to discovery what makes Vitamin C so effective are in progress.
WebMD reports that Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and humans must get this from food products, such as fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, for example, are a rich source of Vitamin C. Interestingly, some animals have the ability to produce Vitamin C on their own.
Earlier studies also confirmed that high doses of vitamin c improves the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
The National Cancer Institute reports that vitamin C in high doses have been studied as a potential cancer treatment for patients since the 1970s. Clinical trials suggest that higher doses of vitamin C could actually play a role in slowing down the growth and spread of colon, liver, prostate, pancreatic, and many different kinds of cancer.
It may sound amazing that a deadly disease like cancer may be treated by something as common as Vitamin C, but it should be noted that earlier research has suggested that the vitamin may not be very effective. Several clinical studies have been conducted but have failed to find a prominent link.
Earlier findings by Professor Margreet Vissers from Centre for Free Radical Research stated that the biological functions of Vitamin C are significant in cancer treatment and investigations about the contribution of ascorbate to cancer growth as a result of its co-factor activity for these enzymes were underway.
Dr. Lewis Cantley of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York led a team of researchers and discovered that giving a high dose of Vitamin C may destroy colorectal cancer cells.
Jihye Yun and her colleagues further analyzed the nature of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells in humans and found some mutations in genes termed as KRAS and BRAF. These two genes are responsible for cell growth. Researchers show that these cells pick oxidized version of Vitamin C via a receptor, which is over-expressed particularly in colorectal cancer cells with mutations.
This process results in oxidative stress and ultimately inactivates an enzyme that is needed for assisting mutant cancer cell growth but avoids affecting normal cells. These findings are in line with cell culture results and also research that suggests that high Vitamin C doses given to mice suffering from colorectal cancer with the KRAS mutation also stopped cancer growth.
Based on this study, researchers are looking to see if this reaction could be further used to develop therapies based of high Vitamin C doses.
Source: EurekAlert Press Release