Vitamin C has been used in many trials to test its efficacy against cancer cells. However, most of it only resulted in failure.
A new study
proves otherwise. Experts claim that vitamin C, if used in high doses may successfully damage tumors.
The UI scientists demonstrated that by giving vitamin C intravenously (meaning bypassing normal gut metabolism and excretion pathways), it can create blood levels that are 100-500 times higher than levels seen with oral ingestion.
This amount of potency can attack cancer cells, experts say.
In lab tests conducted in mice and in test tubes, UI redox biology expert Garry Buettner found that at these extremely high levels, vitamin C selectively kills cancer cells but not normal cells.
Due to this, Physicians at UI Hospitals and Clinics are now using the vitamin C treatment together with their common therapies for pancreatic cancer and lung cancer.
Earlier trials have determined that this treatment is safe and well-tolerated. Using vitamin C therapy also showed positive signs of patients getting better. The next, large-scale tests are to confirm if it helps in the patient's survival.
In a new study, published recently in the journal Redox Biology, vitamin C breaks down easily to hydrogen peroxide. These reactive oxygen can damage tissue and DNA.
The study also shows that cancer cells are much less capable of removing the damaging hydrogen peroxide than normal cells.
"In this paper, we demonstrate that cancer cells are much less efficient in removing hydrogen peroxide than normal cells. Thus, cancer cells are much more prone to damage and death from a high amount of hydrogen peroxide," says Buettner, a professor of radiation oncology and a member of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa in an interview.
"This explains how the very, very high levels of vitamin C used in our clinical trials do not affect normal tissue, but can be damaging to tumor tissue."
"Our results suggest that cancers with low levels of catalase are likely to be the most responsive to high-dose vitamin C therapy, whereas cancers with relatively high levels of catalase may be the least responsive," he explains.
Why didn't we think of this all this time? But still, hooray! Soon cancer can be fully cured.