It has been revealed that combining vitamin C with antibiotics can destroy cancer stem cells. This discovery could pave ways for combating and providing resistance against disease.
A study done at Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Salford in the United Kingdom has reported the findings of using vitamin C combined with antibiotics in the Journal Oncotarget. The co-author of study Professor Michael Listani and colleagues have confirmed it.
Antibiotics are a range of drugs which destroy or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics but they are used for the treatment of such diseases caused by the bacteria.
A stem cell is a mass of undifferentiated cell found in multicellular organisms. Stem cells are responsible for giving rise to the same kind of more cells. The process of differentiation results in a formation of other various types of cells.
Cancer stem cells reproduce inevitably just like the stem cells resulting in uncontrolled growth. These cancer cells sustain tumors and are main drivers behind the increased growth and spread of tumor cells in later advanced stages of a disease.
Cancer stem cell killing capabilities of vitamin C
As a part of the research, to found the cancer stem cells killing capability of vitamin C, the researchers administered an antibiotic Doxycycline. Its major applications include acne treatment, pneumonia, and some other infections. The antibiotic was used with increased dose over the three-month trial.
By the use of antibiotic, the results showed metabolic flexibility in cells inhibiting their ability to switch the source of fuel for their survival. The cancer cells were just left with glucose as a source of energy for their survival.
After the initial trial, the antibiotic Doxycycline was administered with some dose of Vitamin C. This inhibited even the glucose as a source, resulting in starvation of remaining cells to death.
“In the later mentioned case vitamin C acts as an inhibitor of the glycolysis. The process of glycolysis is responsible for the energy production in mitochondria and thus is also known as Powerhouse of the cell”, said Dr. Federica Sotgia, also of the Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Salford.
Vitamin C is quite effective in fighting and killing cancer stem cells. Eight other compounds have also been identified to use with vitamin C that could prove beneficial in the fight against cancer.
It has also been reported from previous researches that vitamin C alone is quite effective in destroying cancer stem cells but now it has been found that when it is coupled with Doxycycline, it is 100 times more effective than just being alone.
Michael Listani said that it is a promising research for clinical trials, finding antibiotic administered with vitamin C. As an add-on to conventional therapies, it can prevent the recurrence of tumors and progression to further advanced stage through metastasis.
The FDA approved antibiotic, Doxycycline holds a great importance and therapeutic value in targeting the cancer cells mitochondria but its clinical trials are necessary to find cell behavior towards it. It is also necessary to evaluate results in response to different cancer cells at various treatment stages.