High doses of the substance found in ORANGES is 10 times more effective than some trial drugs
Vitamin C could help stop cancer from spreading throughout the body, controversial research suggests. Found in high levels in oranges, kale and peppers, British scientists discovered the nutrient starves tumours in laboratory tests.
Giving patients high doses is 10 times more effective than some drugs being trialled in the battle against cancer, the study claims.
By injecting patients with it, sufferers can get up to 500 times the amount than they would through eating.
But experts warn it is impossible to get the required amount through fruit, and that the results are still very early on.
Also called ascorbic acid, its effects on cancer stem cells, which are known to fuel the growth of fatal tumours, had never before been evaluated.
However, University of Salford researchers believe they have pinpointed exactly how it starves cancer stem cells.
By inhibiting the breakdown of glucose, the mitochondria – considered the ‘powerhouse’ of cells – are unable to gain vital energy it needs to thrive.
Study author Dr Michael Lisanti said: ‘Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.’
Given as an add-on to chemotherapy, it could be used to prevent tumour recurrence and further progression of the disease.
It has been studied internationally as a potential treatment for cancer patients for more than four decades.
Despite being known to help boost the immune system, proven results for its effects on cancer have been relatively scarce.
Previous research has even shown that it increases the risk of the disease by triggering a biological process that damages DNA.
Cancer stem cells are considered to be one of the biggest causes of chemotherapy resistance.
This is known to lead to treatment failure in patients with advanced forms of the disease, allowing it to spread across the body.
In an attempt to disrupt their metabolism, they tested a range of seven substances, according to the study published in the journal Oncotarget.
Three of these were natural products, including vitamin C, honey-bee derivative CAPE and milk thistle extract silibinin.
Epilepsy drug stiripentol was also monitored, alongside experimental drugs such as actinonin, FK866 and 2-DG.
Actinonin and FK866 were found to be the most potent, suggesting two potential treatments for future scientific research.
Natural products also halted the growth of the cancerous cells, with vitamin C outperforming 2-DG tenfold in terms of potency.
Dr Gloria Bonuccelli, also involved in the study, said: ‘Our results indicate it is a promising agent for clinical trials.’
Anna Perman, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information manager, said: ‘This is an early stage study and hasn’t been tested in patients.
‘In fact, some doctors think that antioxidants like vitamin C might interfere with chemotherapy which we know can be effective treatment.
‘The important thing for cancer patients to remember is that this study is looking at the action of vitamin C in the laboratory, not the effect of eating foods or supplements that contain vitamin C.
‘This should not prompt anyone receiving treatment for cancer to change their diet or treatment plan.’
Written by Stephen Matthews and published by The Telegraph ~ March 21, 2017.
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