Vitamin C to Fight Cancer Cells

Vitamin C to Fight Cancer CellsVitamin C to Fight Cancer Cells

The power of Vitamin C could one day be harnessed to fight colorectal cancer, according to a new study published in Science.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the US, with about 93,090 new cases each year.

Around 50% of those cases involve mutations in the KRAS and BRAF genes; these forms of the disease are more aggressive and do not respond well to current therapies or chemotherapy.

Vitamin C is generally thought to improve health because of its antioxidant effect, which prevents or delays some types of cell damage, reports

A team led by Dr. Lewis Cantley, of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, NY, discovered that in the case of the KRAS and BRAF forms of CRC, the opposite was true. In these cancer cells, high-doses of Vitamin C caused oxidation, resulting in what could be a beneficial effect for patients.

They found that in cell cultures and mice, high doses of Vitamin C - equivalent to around 300 oranges - impaired the growth of KRAS and BRAF mutant colorectal tumors.

Researchers hope that the findings could lead to the development of new treatments and provide critical insights into who would most benefit from them.

They believe the study could lead to the development of new biomarkers to help physicians determine who the treatment would suit best. The insights may also be useful for other difficult cancers, such as renal cell carcinoma, bladder cancer and pancreatic cancer.