The anti-cancer effects of vitamin C are becoming more recognized. Science published a study according to which high doses of vitamin C were able to destroy human colorectal cancers cells harboring specific genetic mutations that are present in half of these cancers.
Researchers conducted the test on a cell culture, and based on previous experiments in mice, they investigated what kind of impact high injections of vitamin C have on cancer cells. The original data came from an application of vitamin C and metabolized types of vitamin C to a cell culture that contained mutated cancer cells and wild type control cells.
According to the result, colorectal cancer cells were more likely to soak up the vitamin C metabolite than cells devoid of those mutations due to an upregulation of the protein that draws vitamin C and its metabolites into cells. These cells bring in so much of these chemicals that they self-destruct.
After that, the tumors with these mutations were inserted in mice in order to see if the results could be replicated in a living animal. It was confirmed that vitamin C annihilated the cells carrying the mutations common in colorectal cancers cells.
According to further researching, vitamin C can minimize the availability of intracellular energy units known as ATP, leading to a hazardous lack of energy in these cells.
The reason why this study is so important is because it highlights the cellular steps involved in destroying cancer cells. It was discovered that the therapeutically active chemical is the vitamin C metabolite dehydroascorbate. The spike in vitamin C uptake was due to the upregulation of a specific kind of transporter in mutated cells that don’t take place in normal cells.
But, the ability of vitamin C to annihilate cancer has been shown in other studies. The peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine published a study where it was shown that people who receive high-dose injections of vitamin C can boost the cancer killing effects of chemotherapy and could potentially be a safe, low-cost treatment for ovarian cancers and other cancers.
The BBC News reported on a case where scientists injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, both into mice and into patients with advanced ovarian cancer. The results showed that ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment but normal cells were unharmed.
The treatment was conducted together with other chemotherapy drugs to slow the growth of tumors in mice. Some of the patients who received both chemo and vitamin C claimed that they experienced less severe side-effects from the chemotherapy than those who were undergoing chemotherapy only.
Sadly, further human trials won’t be conducted because drug companies can’t patent vitamins. It would also require major funding that usually includes pharmaceutical companies involved in the development of a patented drug.
“Because vitamin C has no patent potential, its development will not be supported by pharmaceutical companies,” says Qi Chen, lead author of the new study. “We believe that the time has arrived for research agencies to vigorously support thoughtful and meticulous clinical trials with intravenous vitamin C,” he added.